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Volunteers’ Newsletter 5 – UTEA Looking Forward

I thought it was time to contact you all again to let you know what has and is going on here at UTEA. Volunteers will have received an email from Ali about upcoming events at UTEA this autumn. Did that remind you of the good old days?! I hope you feel that you are able to reconnect with us again now, however that may be. There are many ways to reach out to us at this time, as I hope will become evident as you read this.

I had a lovely weekend earlier in September when I attended the John Lennon retrospective and followed that up with a Gong Bath the next day. The joy of hearing and feeling live music again reminded me what we had been missing. This was a great night, the reduced audience notwithstanding, and we will be welcoming the band back next year. It was great to see the bar open, the lights on (those fairy lights look magical against our lovely new smoky blue walls!) and the hum of a live audience. This night was also important to us as it was our first real go at live streaming. I say “our” but those that know me will doubt with my technological (lack of!) expertise that I had anything really to do with it. We now have our own UTEA expert by way of Josh Pawlowski who is undertaking the livestreaming side of things. He has already been complimented on the quality of the livestreaming and his commentary was well received. Josh has had to learn a lot in a small amount of time and we are grateful to him for his enthusiasm and patience at this time. This all would not have been possible without the very generous help offered from Andy Starling of The Falcon. Andy’s encouragement and expertise have helped us to get this off the ground. Not only has he let us use his equipment, but he has given up a lot of his own time to talk us through what needs to be done to make this work. I love the idea of sharing within our community and this has been a wonderful example of this.

We are now discussing how to take this livestreaming idea forward. Clearly the situation is not going to change anytime soon and we would like to make a success of our livestreams in order to keep offering events to the community and, of course, to stay afloat as an organisation. We are hoping to offer a monthly subscription service soon. Please consider signing up to this and thereby continuing to support UTEA. There is actually quite a lot to be said for dancing around your kitchen in your pyjamas at 8 O’clock on a Saturday night too …

Details of the above subscription service, upcoming events etc can all be found on our website. But not as you know it! We have had a revamp! The result of several “zoomy” conversations over the spring/summer/lockdown months has been a website of which we can feel very proud. We wanted a site that was easy to use on a computer and mobile, somewhere that would provide a good impression of who we are and what we offer to prospective acts and punters alike. It should be easier to book tickets and gain information about various aspects of UTEA now. Huge thanks to Tom Godwin of Y11 at KLB School and Sarah Conroy, local web designer, for all their help with this. Again, this is another wonderful example of sharing expertise in the community. We so appreciate it.

Please visit the website here (I am sure you agree that a pop of magenta on a dull rainy day does wonders for the soul!):

You will see that we do have some events coming up. We decided to have a bit of a focus on well-being over the coming weeks. To that end, we have meditation, Gong Baths, Yoga, Qi-Gong on offer. Please spread the word!

Vinyl Nights are going to be a more frequent occurrence and, dare I say, a great way for volunteers to reconnect. We can be on hand during these evenings to talk through Covid procedures, new bar procedures etc. You don’t need to bring vinyl! The Vinyl Night Regulars have plenty.

Rob Collins is encouraging people to provide a visual on an A4 piece of paper of their mind at this time: no words. Please leave these in the front entrance hall in the tray and we will display them at a later date. Rob has also offered to raffle one of his paintings which we will do some time in the near future. A big thank you to him for his continued support and ideas.

The Jazz and Blue Jam musicians have been meeting regularly at The Chipping Hall to play again (no audience at this time). We hope to be live streaming Jazz and Blues again soon, however. If you know of any bands or musicians who would like to hire the space for rehearsal, please let us know.

The Fall into Winter is going to be turned back into Spring into Summer as we just can’t see us being able to put on a day such as that early in December.

We are offering workshops and would be keen to host more of these. Again, please let us know if you have a suggestion for a workshop or know someone who may be interested in holding one.

We are hoping to encourage more people to become members of UTEA (details on the website). This would be another way of supporting us and getting involved.

We want to focus on this scheme in the coming months and wonder if anyone out there fancies taking this on as a project? We would even bestow upon you the very fancy title of “UTEA Membership Coordinator”.

Due to Covid restrictions, but possibly more by way of modernising UTEA, we now have 2 Sumup (cardless) machines; one for the bar and one for the door. We will have instructions ready on how to use these and/or someone will be on hand to show you. What with these and WIFI we are getting very 21st century!

I really miss not seeing you and having that all precious human contact through our cherished UTEA space. There are glimmers of normality and certainly reasons to feel positive. At least let us try! It has been a tough few months for many, I know, but if UTEA has taught us anything it is the power of community.

As I say, we are still here for you so please do reach out by looking at the website, coming along to something, getting in touch with an idea or volunteering.

Take care and hope to see or speak or hear from you soon.


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