Our Trustees have agreed that the Old Low Light Heritage Centre café and galleries will re-open in late July. This delay will help us to protect our long-term financial situation by minimising losses as much as possible.
Our re-opening plans will be dependent on any national announcements on or before 19 July about the lifting of restrictions and the most up to date Government guidance available to us.
This will help us to update our safety plan and we will also take account, as much as we can, feedback from staff, volunteers and members.
In the next week or so we will be in contact with volunteers to explore how they are feeling about resuming their duties at the Old Low Light, and if they are, whether they will be able to give the same time commitment as previously.
We are also running an online survey for visitors to help us understand how many of our regular customers intend to return as soon as we re-open as well as what we need to do to make sure that they feel safe and comfortable when they do visit us. We hope you will take five minutes to complete the survey which will be open until 5pm on Tuesday 22nd June.
On a very positive note, the Old Low Light has been a thriving community asset behind closed doors since April 12th. Local committees, community interest groups and charities all returned to the building and have been holding their meetings, activities and sessions in the centre over the last 8 weeks. Exercise classes resumed on May 17th, along with technology classes which also restarted at the same time. All of these have conducted risk assessments and have operated in line with current national guidance.
We had a very successful plant sale outside the centre during the Bank Holiday weekend, raising more than £700, when it was wonderful to see so many volunteers, members and friends there supporting us. We have also had two guided heritage walks with volunteer, Martin Kenny, for small groups, with another planned for 10th July. In addition, a table-top sale will take place outside the centre this Saturday (19 June) from 10am to 1pm. For more information about all future events, see our website – www.oldlowlight.co.uk
Meanwhile, plans continue for our That’s Women’s Work exhibition about local women who have worked in the fishing and maritime related industries past and present. We hope that the opening of this exhibition will coincide with the re-opening of the café and galleries.
Saving the best news until last, you may have seen already that we are going to receive a very welcome grant of £24,000 from a trust set up almost 100 years ago by Sir James Knott, a North Shields shipping magnate, entrepreneur and philanthropist. This will ease our financial position and allow us to proceed with our re-opening plans. We are very grateful to the trust for its generosity, although we will still need to proceed with caution.
Thank-you to everyone for your continued support. We will be in contact again as soon as we can be more precise about the date for re-opening the café and galleries.