Planning for reopening of the John Godber Centre

Reopening of the John Godber Centre – update 9.7.20

As these uncertain times continue, we write to up-date you on the plans we are making for reopening the John Godber Centre. From the 4th July community venues are able to reopen if they are able to be made COVID Secure but only for some types of activities.

Our venue is many things, a place of celebration, a place of community, a place of business and alongside the guidance we need to implement for our multi use venue to keep staff and users safe we also need to ensure we protect finances and remain in a financially stable position to protect employment and charitable aims long term.

We feel confident our building can be made COVID Secure and are working on these plans now ready to welcome our staff and users back and take all reasonable steps to do this and reduce the risk of transmission for those who work and use the venue.

We welcome the news that community venues can reopen but unfortunately some hirers are not yet able to return due to restrictions placed on them by the Government guidelines or it’s not viable for them to return yet.

• Social and support groups and clubs, face to face meetings, youth groups, indoor markets, places of worship and office spaces can return to multi use venues if groups follow the appropriate guidelines and undertake a risk assessment for their own activities prior to returning.
• Sadly a number of activities are not able to return including fitness, exercise, dance classes, drama, theatre, music and singing groups and performances which need to remain paused and are unable to go ahead at this time.
• Social gatherings such as parties, events and wedding receptions are not yet able to take place so our bars, which help generate a large proportion of our income, also need to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

We have been fortunate to receive some financial support through the Government schemes which we are truly grateful for and has helped us stay in a secure position so we are confident about our future but we feel, like many businesses, we need to remain cautious in our approach to the coming months and reopening the Centre to ensure we remain this way.

Much care and thought has gone into our plans but we feel, at this time, we are unable to fully open the Centre as it was before until the start of September at the earliest. We will be gradually welcoming some groups back during the summer on a limited number of days and times and our staff will begin to return, part time, over the coming weeks. During August many groups take holidays and pause their activities so this is a quieter time for us each year but with the loss of revenues we have seen to date with no rents, bar or events income received and the challenges we face through the Autumn/Winter with a number of events already needing to postpone or cancel due to the limited preparation time they will have (even if measures are eased in September) we feel our phased reopening plan will ensure we protect our reserves long term and can prepare the venue and staff for groups returning in September and look forward to 2021 and beyond. Our phased reopening will be –

• During July we will remain open Monday to Friday 8.30am-4pm for our preschool who returned in June. Weight Watchers intend to return with their new Express Sessions from the 10th July and those activities that are able to take place during these times could resume. From our customer survey not many can or will yet.
• During August we will extend our hire to two evenings per week, Monday and Thursday and Saturday mornings. Slimming World intend to resume their face to face sessions from the 10th August with smaller group sessions. If wedding receptions are possible we hope our brides and grooms who are still holding their current dates can go ahead with their plans for their special days with their loved ones. Those activities that are able to take place during these times could resume if they wish or with temporary date changes.
• From September we will extend our hire to include Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings where we hope to welcome back fitness and dance sessions and more social groups and performing activities, if they feel ready to return and guidance changes permit. If social gatherings are able to safely go ahead we hope to be able to resume hosting weekend events and parties in line with government guidance and welcome back our Children’s worship groups from St Mary Magdalene Church when schools return, if possible.
• Currently there are no updates about larger events such as the monthly jumble sale, Christmas Market, New Years Eve Party or Hucknall Beer Festival though our first Hucknall Gin Festival planned for September will be postponed.

We hope our groups support our plans and understand a lot of time, care and thought has gone into ensuring we adhere to the guidance and protect our team, users and charitable aims.

The John Godber Centre has been here to support our community as a place to meet and socialise for 113 years and we intend for it to remain here, long beyond our years, for future generations to enjoy their life events and activities.

As the current guardians for the building we feel this approach is the most responsible and sustainable way, for us, to reopen the venue at this time and continue the vision of Canon Godber. We would love nothing more than to reopen our doors fully and welcome everyone back but this is not practical or viable to do immediately, and not all can or wish to return yet. We will continually review our plans and changes to guidance and update as appropriate.

Thank you for the kind words and support we have received so far and everyone’s ongoing co-operation and understanding as we all find a way through the unknown and we look forward to a time when our groups, events and staff all return.

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