Last week we started a fundraising campaign to counter the £250k deficit in our funding, a situation which became more urgent with the destruction of Gunnersbury Park Cafe. A week on from the start of the campaign, here's a message from our CEO David Bowler to you, our supporters.
"Last week we came to you, our regular visitors, with a plea.
Gunnersbury’s income had been cut dramatically by the impact of Covid-19, leaving a £250k deficit in our budget. On top of that, Gunnersbury Park Café had been destroyed in a fire. We asked for your help and we are delighted to say that you have come to our assistance.
With donations flowing in, we managed to reach £10k within 48 hours! Now a week on from the launch we have reached £18k, which is over 70% towards our goal of £25k.
While you have been giving so generously, our small team here has also thrown itself into the task of plugging the rest of the £250k gap.
We are in advanced discussions with Secret Cinema, who were forced to cancel their scheduled summer event due to the lockdown. They have approached us about returning to Gunnersbury with a season of socially distanced, family-friendly cinema screenings in the park this summer. These shows would have audiences of only 20% the size of the original, scheduled event.
We are very excited about the possibility of hosting this season at short notice as not only would this help our financial situation but we would be able to bring a safe, cultural offering to our community, at a time when there are very few opportunities for families to enjoy entertainment together outside the house. Secret Cinema have applied to Hounslow Council for planning and licensing approvals to hold the shows.
We haven’t formally signed contracts with them yet but hope to do so very soon, and we will be holding consultations with local councillors and with local people about the details of the proposed season in the next few weeks.
We are also working hard applying for funding from charitable trusts and foundations and have been successful with securing a grant from the Arts Council. This money will go towards launching a digital version of our successful Little Flamingos early years programme, and also creating a digital interactive arts resource to inspire families during their daily visits to Gunnersbury Park and assist with home schooling.
While there is plenty of good news, unfortunately even with your generous support, our Arts Council grant and hopefully fees from hosting the cinema season, we are still a long way from closing the gap in our finances this year. Please continue to share and give what you can. Every pound will go to help Gunnersbury survive and thrive for you and our community.
We hope to get a temporary café up and running soon and aim to open our museum as fast as we can meet government guidance on making the building “Covid-secure”.
Please stay well, socially distance and enjoy Gunnersbury."