A few weeks ago I updated you on our plans to re-open the Old Low Light Heritage Centre.
At that time, we hoped to re-open the centre by the end of July. Since then we have continued working through all of the steps we need to take to make sure that when we do re-open our doors, we have done everything practicably possible to keep our staff, volunteers, café customers and visitors to the galleries as safe as possible.
This has involved preparing the most comprehensive safety plan detailing exactly how we will work once we do re-open, taking into account the national guidance around social distancing and the very big emphasis on good hygiene practices and enhanced cleaning protocols. We have also been taking into account as much as possible the comments received from the recent online survey when we asked for views on what people wished to see included in new ways of working at the heritage centre.
On Tuesday 28 July the Trustees met via a Zoom conference and agreed the plan, which is a working document and will be updated in line with any changes in national guidance. They also agreed that while we wouldn’t be in a position to re-open by the end of the month as previously hoped, we should be able to do so within a few weeks.
This will give us time to have the entire building deep cleaned by an external company, install protective clear screens on the café counter and welcome desk, arrange screens in between tables in the café, which people responding to the survey said they would like to see, produce new signage for inside and outside the centre and fit several hand sanitisers around the building.
We also need to have one to one conversations with those volunteers who provide day to day support in the centre so that we have a good understanding of how they feel about coming back to help out. This will enable us to prepare rotas. However, we will have these conversations knowing and respecting that some will understandably prefer to wait a while before resuming their volunteering duties.
A very important action before re-opening will be making sure that all staff and those volunteers who will be happy to join rotas receive the necessary training to make sure they understand new ways of working and the part they will play in helping to ensure that the centre is as safe as it can be.
Finally, we also need to install the exhibition celebrating five years of the heritage centre on the upper floor which we had planned to do before lockdown and rearrange and add to exhibits in the heritage gallery.
So it is now full steam ahead and in a couple of weeks I hope to let you know our opening date.
Until then stay alert and safe and we look forward to seeing you soon.