Statement from our founders on the closure of the Fiery Bird venue and COVID-19

Statement from our founders on the closure of the Fiery Bird venue and COVID-19

Dear all,

Given the Government's current advice on preventing the spread of coronavirus, we are writing to let you know that the Fiery Bird is currently closed. Bookings and gigs are cancelled at least until the end of April.

This decision is important for the safety of our customers and volunteers, particularly those, including our co-founder Joe, who have underlying health conditions.

You may be aware that we also have contracts for events run by other people. These are a way of finding musicians paid work and they are also an important source of income for us, supporting our community work. These contracts have all been cancelled for this year. This leaves us in a very vulnerable position.

Obviously, this is a difficult and sad situation all round. There are several factors we need to consider which cause us issues and where we can demonstrate the strengths and benefits a social project like ours can bring to the community in such vulnerable times.

Even if our venue is closed, we have so much work to do behind the scenes for the future of the project, and this work can continue. We can use this time to really see this stage through, to help embed a community venue and grassroots arts in our community. Our team’s efforts to get us where we are mustn’t be lost and it’s important to keep the team involved and working together. We want to welcome new members virtually as much as we can, not just to keep the project going but also to be there for each other and our community through this difficult time.

We ask if people have time or resources available, to consider if they can support us. However, we are very aware that people have worries and we want to know how we can support you too.

As well as a live music venue, Phoenix Centre/Fiery Bird has always been a place where people who otherwise would not go out can be welcome. There may be people who are very isolated now and need connection. Suggestions welcome on how we can encourage people to use all arts and creativity to find solace and connection. We have members and volunteers with expertise in so many areas, who might be able to help people and shape what we can do to support our community and each other through this. Many of our musician friends are live-streaming performances, so we don’t necessarily see a gap that we need to fill there, but there may be other ways we can get people together, perhaps through sharing music, chatting or other things in a virtual group.

Community-led businesses are at the heart of the places they serve and can respond quickly and compassionately to the needs of people where they are based. When this blows over, we will be able to be part of building our community back up in resilience and hope. We welcome people to help us do this, based on our core principles and values of being a community driven, equality and ethics based, welcoming project.

Over the next few days and weeks, as more information becomes available, we will be working towards this bright future and hope that you will be aware that your time, compassion, skills and intelligence is much valued to make that happen. Joe is still working full time because he has vulnerable clients as well as working on this and I am working to try to get our future secured and some major funding in place so we welcome ideas with our purpose embedded in them that people are prepared to drive forward.

This project has seen adversity many times in its ten-year history. It was built on adversity and always comes out stronger. We know that we can survive this, with even more resolve to be a place where everyone can express themselves. Bear with us, we are working as hard as we can in the background, but whatever happens, keep your spirits high and reach out if you need help.

Take care of yourselves, you are very, very valued

Best wishes,

Elaine & Joe

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The Phoenix Cultural Centre

A community project bringing live music and other cultural events to Woking. The Phoenix Cultural Centre is a social enterprise, working towards creating a welcoming and inclusive space where people from all backgrounds can enjoy and participate in music events and which supports other community groups working in Woking.
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