A message from the CEO
Published 16 July 2020
Last month we announced that we will re-open in September with a phased programme of Cinema, Creative Learning activities and an exceptional new dining offer, all with Covid-secure facilities, with details to be announced in the coming weeks. Ahead of re-opening, the team are carrying out renovations and digital upgrades to ensure the safety of customers and staff, and to improve the quality and scope of our offer, thanks to capital funding which was granted before Covid-19, and can only be used for this specific purpose.
We can’t wait to open the doors and welcome you back, but before that the organisation must rethink its business model in light of Covid-19, which has had a devastating impact on the arts, entertainment and hospitality sectors. There is no date yet set out by the Government for a return for indoor live performances and social distancing will still be required between customers, staff and performers for some time.
2020 was set to be a brilliant year for us, with a packed programme of arts and entertainment that would bring the world to Kendal. The team had spent many months working to secure some of the best names in music, international festivals and events, community projects and performances, plus a new strand of learning and talent development to support the next generation of creatives. When Covid-19 struck and our doors closed, 85% of our income stopped overnight, while core overhead and venue costs continued.
We are enormously grateful to our core funders for continuing to provide the remaining 15% of our income which has helped us sustain the closure period. But in line with arts and entertainment venues across the country, we now need to work around the restrictions placed on the activity that we can do and the numbers of people we can host safely. In light of Covid we estimate that, after re-opening, we will only be able to offer around 50% of the scale and scope of our normal activities. Our business feasibility relies on our sell-out gigs, and full capacity bars and all indicators are telling us that it will be 2021 before we can build these levels of audiences and income back up again.
I am determined to rebuild and bounce back as soon as possible but as the Government Job Retention Scheme begins to taper off in August, we will be restructuring the organisation and reducing costs to help preserve our future. We are carrying out a period of consultation with the Brewery team, developing a new staff structure that will support our socially distanced programme. Heartbreakingly, this will include some unavoidable redundancies.
This is a difficult time for everyone involved, and my heart and thanks go out to the staff who are showing exceptional commitment and care for each other and for the communities we serve.
I would also like to thank everyone that has sent kind words of support during our closure and made generous donations. This local and impassioned support makes me even more determined to make sure the Brewery is able to bounce back and remain at the heart of cultural and social life in Kendal for many years to come.
If you are able to contribute a donation at this unprecedented time, please visit our website. If you would prefer to discuss support, sponsorship or partnership in person, please contact me at CEO@breweryarts.co.uk
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
With Best Wishes,