Pagoda Centre to transfer to arts group

The home of the award-winning Chinese Youth Orchestra is to be transferred to a community arts group.

The cabinet is being asked to approve the granting of a 30 year lease at a peppercorn rent for the Pagoda Centre in Henry Street to Pagoda Arts who has coordinated activates at the centre since 2011. As well as the orchestra it provides a number of services to improve the health and wellbeing of the Chinese community.

Activities at the centre include music, Tai Chi, dance, nursery, translation service for Chinese speakers, social welfare/immigration advice, study groups, Chinese local history, badminton, food hygiene training and various Chinese culture workshops.

Although the council receives an annual rent of £13,500, the cost to the authority in maintenance costs is £60,000 a year.

“I am really pleased by this proposal,” said Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, “It is good for Pagoda Arts, good for the Chinese community and good for the council.

“In reality it formalises the current position. Although the building is owned by the council it has been operated by Pagoda Arts for some time – by leasing it it means they can apply for grants which are not now available to them and we will help them with any bids they wish to make.

“This is a great example of partnership working between the council and the voluntary sector which will be of long-term benefit for the city’s Chinese Community.

Zi Lan Liao Director of Pagoda Arts said: “I am grateful for the efforts of both Liverpool City Council and the Pagoda Arts committee. Both parties have worked hard to find a workable solution to the long term maintenance and administration issues in regard to the Pagoda Centre premises. As we all know, due to the fiscal pressure applied to local councils by central government,  this is a difficult time for the providers of community based services.

“We are therefore delighted that the Pagoda Centre will be able to remain, for the foreseeable future, in China Town, serving both Liverpool’s Chinese community, as well as the wider community of inner city Liverpool.”