As many of you know, in order to help prohibit the spread of Covid-19 we closed the doors to South Hill Park Arts Centre in March. This meant cancelling or re-scheduling all performances, cinema screenings and courses and stopping all of our community work. As a charity, this has led to a catastrophic loss of income and whilst I have been working with our Board of Trustees and colleagues to try and address the shortfall, the long term viability of the Arts Centre remains uncertain.
The free reserves held by the charity that we have spent seven years building will enable us to manage minimum outgoings during the period of lockdown, maintain the buildings, keep the team on our payroll using the government’s job retention scheme and operate a skeleton staff during closure. But with little income being generated during this time we will not have sufficient funds to fully re-open. When the Government tells us that we can open our doors, it will not be like turning on a tap. We will need to pay staff – once the furlough scheme ends – generate an audience, create a programme, sell tickets and resume our community engagement work and as yet we do not know the full impact of social distancing in performance spaces. At first we will have all the costs but very little income, and it is likely to take several weeks, if not months to return to normal.
Therefore we have launched a new emergency fund that could provide us with a lifeline.
We recognise that this is a time of uncertainty for everyone. However, if you can, your donation – however large or small – will play a significant part in helping us resume our role as a vital and much-loved venue and service to the residents of Bracknell Forest.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive messages and donations we’ve received so far and thankful that we can count on the support of so many of you. Together, I know we can weather this storm.
I am looking forward to the time when, powered by passionate people, creativity and joy will once again flow through South Hill Park and our community.
Please make a donation today and save your Arts Centre.
With thanks and warm wishes
Chief Executive, South Hill Park Arts Centre