Bridge the Gap – an urgent appeal for support, so that Wren Music can survive the summer 2023.
In our 40th anniversary year, we are sad to have to announce that there is a very real possibility that we won’t make it to September 2023, when our Autumn programme starts again.
Wren’s Treasurer, Hugh Sutherland, said “The Board of Trustees are determined to keep Wren Music going. We do not want to commemorate our anniversary by closing down. But over the last year we have seen our costs rise and rise, and funding opportunities disappear. We have reached the bottom of what we can cut, and now, unfortunately, our future is on a knife edge.”
Wren’s CEO, Marilyn Tucker said, “We are planning changes to our programme, and applying to different funders for support. But so are lots of other charities: We cannot guarantee our applications will be successful and we cannot guarantee that we will still be open to hear the funders’ decisions. That is why we need people to respond to this urgent appeal now.”
Unlike some other arts organisations, our musicians and office team are employed week in week out, all year round. This means that most of our costs are the same for every month of the year. But our income goes up and down: contracts with schools and community groups are paused for the summer months – so we need your help to bridge the gap, survive the short term, and make it to September.
Marilyn added, “If we can make it to September, the team have had lots of fabulous ideas for ways to connect more people together through folk music. We’ve outlined a carols project to link together the three folk carolling traditions of Devon; we’d like to recruit music volunteers to help with a site-specific production at a rural foundation for people with special education needs or disability; and we’re developing the idea for a ‘Folk Requiem for Lockdown’, to create a new participatory music show which helps the members and audience to process the emotions and the impact of the events of 2020 and 2021. I really hope we have the chance to bring some of these ideas to life.”
Wren Music is so much more than just a group of musicians. Our work plays an important part in the folk music landscape of England, and in the community arts landscape of Devon. The permanent closure of Wren would represent a serious loss for local communities and for future generations alike.
Roland, his wife Jane, and his son Richard, have all been involved in different Wren projects over the years. “Wren is an inspiring organisation, encouraging people to get involved in singing and playing, and establishing friendships through music, which is really valuable.” If, like Roland and his family, you’ve felt the benefit of being involved with Wren Music then please help us at this difficult time.
Please give what you can.
Want to understand more about the appeal? Read or FAQs about the current situation
Frequently Asked Questions about Wren Music’s Bridge the Gap Appeal
Where have you got this money from in the past?
During the summers in 2018 and 2019 we had active projects funded by the European Union through their scheme called Erasmus+. This included funding to pay for our staff to work on these projects over the summer, and funding to pay for our organisation’s core costs during this time.
In 2020 and 2021 the EU projects were paused, but we received Culture Recovery Funding from the Department of Culture Media and Sport, in recognition of the difficulties that arts organisations faced during the pandemic.
In 2022 the EU projects were able to be resumed but they have now finished.
In 2023 there is no Culture Recovery Funding available, and following Brexit we are no longer eligible to be the lead partner in EU funded projects. The UK Government’s ‘replacement’ Turing Fund does not support the kinds of projects we run.
Where will it come from in future?
We are in the process of reshaping our community arts programme and our general activities. This includes securing additional year-round contracts, more core funding and new ways of generating income – like new schemes for hiring out our resources and equipment. If we meet our forecast budgets for 2023/24 there will not be a ‘gap’ in the summer of 2024, and we will have rebuilt our reserves.
How much money do you need?
Ideally, we need £12,000 (twelve thousand) before the end of August 2023. The target in the donation site is £7,500 because this is the bare minimum we need to stay open, as we can defer some liabilities (a.k.a. bills). Raising £12,000 would enable us to begin the new academic year as a fresh start without carrying forward existing liabilities.
This sounds like a lot of money for an individual, but if half of the members of the Wren Music community were able to give £50 each then we would easily achieve the target and be ready to thrive in the new academic year.
I’m a Wren Music group member, would it help if I paid my September membership now?
That’s a good idea, but it won’t help at this point. We will need membership subscriptions in September to help stabilise the organisation into the new academic year. To receive that money early would just delay the gap, rather than help us build the bridge across it.
What will the money be used for?
The money raised will be used on our ongoing and predictable costs. This includes our musician and other staff salaries, keeping our two vans on the road and a roof over our heads, as well as readying our instrument stock for the new academic year.
I don’t have any money to give you, is there anything else I can do?
We also need help to spread the word about our new programme which is launching in September. You can take on the task of putting up posters in the area surrounding the group’s venue. You can also share our social media posts into your own local groups and networks.
You could also tell your friends about your experiences with Wren Music and our Bridge the Gap appeal, as they may be able to contribute themselves.