That request was formally confirmed in December 2009 and an Open Day was provisionally planned for February 2010. Beth and her team requested that instead of just having an Open Day to exhibit what the team could do the Trust should actually open the building to the public. This left very little time to build the play equipment but with the help of local engineer Omar Ibrahim, the project was started. A new satellite cafe area was planned and built by the original ARC builder, Mark Corker and local restauranteur Aldo Floris applied to run a franchise food operation, installing the equipment in the cafe, the kitchen and the front of house area. The building opened on 10th February 2010 but we had to wait 3 weeks for the top floor of the play space. Artist Ellie Noble was contracted to supply the dragon and the phoenix and the distinctive large flowers which grace the walls of the soft play zone.
So much more than a soft play space
Since then the ARC has seen a number of changes and faced continuing financial pressures. Plans are in hand to move from weather dependence but in a recession this has proved to be very hard and the ARC remains unsupported by local authorities and reliant on its own income generation to stay afloat.
The ARC has numerous supporters many of whom run fundraising events to help us keep it open. One supporter in particular deserves mention - Kim Beasley who ran the London Marathon to raise money for the ARC. Kim was for a time a trustee of CBCT and represents the aspiration of the Trust to have active trustees.