As general manager of Hailsham Pavilion since 2005, Paul Nunney knows a thing or two about the local area. “It has that great small town feel where everyone knows everyone,” he says.
The Pavilion is a Grade II Listed 1920s building that acts a focal point for the community. “We’re a registered charity and a theatre and cinema,” Paul says. “We run our own programme of events, such as cinema screenings, and live satellite broadcasts from the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and other prestigious venues.” The Pavilion also holds music, theatre and dance events throughout the year, so it’s no surprise that it’s a regular destination for the locals.
The Pavilion’s future was once under threat. During the 1960s the original cinema was closed, and for a brief period the building acted as a bingo hall. It then fell into a state of neglect until the 1990s, when the mayor at the time, June Bourne, decided that something needed to be done. The local people rallied together, and along with the help of organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, enough money was raised to restore the Pavilion back to its former glory.
This seems to be a prime example of Hailsham’s fantastic community spirit, and today its success still rests on the hard work of local residents. “We work very closely with schools and clubs, and we are staffed by a dedicated team of volunteers,” says Paul.
“They are fabulous.”