I hope this finds you safe, well and weathering the storm.
I’d like to reflect on the last few months here at Creative Arts East and discuss the future for our organisation as it stands today.
Since March 20th our team of 12 have been working from home. We have been busy repurposing our social impact projects to make a contribution to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort locally and rebudgeting to ensure we can cover the costs of event subsidy across the remainder of the year, as and when communities feel safe and able to open their village hall doors to artists and audiences again.
Today our work includes:
– Creative Wellbeing Postal Pack production
– Commission of associated online workshops
– Keeping in touch phone calls for vulnerable people across parts of Norfolk
– Artists in Residence in two rural pubs
– Online training for rural touring promoters across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk
– Virtual Community Screenings
– Cultural education resource creation for children and young people
– Design of an enquiry into Youth Leadership in the arts
– Design of an event management online learning module for libraries
I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to our existing funders, including local authorities, who have stood by the organisation and enabled us to be flexible and innovative with the investment they provide. In particular, I’d like to say a special thank you to Esmee Fairbairn, the National Lottery Fund via BFI Film Audience Network and South Norfolk District Council who have provided additional emergency investment to help us plug the funding gap for the next 6-12 months. With this generous support, internal savings and a period of staggered furlough throughout May-July, I am pleased to say our organisation is secure until April 2021.
However, unfortunately the picture for April onwards is not as complete. With many funding streams currently closed and the Culture Secretary’s incredible Rescue Package seemingly ring-fenced for organisations facing financial difficulties in this year only, we are forecasting a significant drop in essential core funding which underpins the infrastructure of our whole organisation. It really has never been more critical that strategic conversations about, and potential solutions to, the COVID-19 emergency take into account the 2021-22 financial period. Nevertheless, our team and Board are working hard to change the outlook – fundraising for new projects where opportunities arise and considering new ways of doing what we do with and for rural communities. We are also proud to be working alongside sector colleagues in the design and development of a new 5-point culture recovery and renewal plan for Norfolk and Suffolk. Thank you to our friends and peers across the region for the tireless efforts and energies that they are giving to secure the future of the sector for the years to come.
You can read more about the plan and add your signature in support here: http://www.cultureunited.org.uk
Finally, I must extend deep thanks and eternal gratitude to the talented and dedicated people who make up the staff and trustees of Creative Arts East; their compassion and creativity is truly inspirational and motivating and I am privileged to work among them. With their passion and determination I feel sure that over the next few months we will find a way to make all the necessary ends meet for the next financial year and if you would like to help us achieve that please do consider making a donation of any size here.
As the country begins to return to something of a new normal, we will be working with communities and sector partners to design and deliver a range of exciting initiatives which can help to build confidence, wellbeing and happiness across the region. Please keep watching this blog space, our social media feed and newsletter for details.
I look forward to seeing you in person again soon.
Natalie Jode, Executive Director