ARTS venue The Witham in Barnard Castle will close its doors tomorrow afternoon.

The closure, which is for the forseeable future, affects the entire building including the cafe, shop and gallery.

With events cancelled or postponed and the loss of income over the period of the closure, bosses say the venue is in 'a very difficult position if it is to weather this pandemic and continue to be a part of the community'.

She has asked customers, who are able, to consider donating the value of their tickets instead of having a refund or to leave the value of the tickets with the venue as credit towards a future event. Otherwise, refunds will be processed.

Susan Coffer, centre manager, said: "Despite the Covid-19 crisis, our team has worked tirelessly to keep The Witham open.

"However, with the latest government advice, it is now essential that we close for the safety of our staff, volunteers, customers and community.

"I cannot express how hard it is to face this situation in the light of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a company over the last 18 months, following the Investing in the Witham campaign.

"But we are determined to overcome these challenges with the help of you, our amazing community.

"It has been humbling to receive your kind messages of support in response to this crisis – thank you to everyone who has taken time to get in touch, to donate the value of tickets and generally for your understanding.

"We are all now facing uncertainty, but we will work hard to help mitigate the financial impact on The Witham as much as possible.

"We will keep in touch regularly, especially when we have news regarding when it will be safe to reopen our doors. We will also be posting updates on our website and on social media channels."