Dear Volunteers, We may not be seeing each other at the moment but you are all very much in our hearts as we continue to ride out this (partial) lockdown together. One positive that has come out of this turbulent time is the importance of the arts for the human soul; it is to the theatre, poetry, song, crafting, music, literature that we have turned for solace, a feeling of shared experience, escape and a way to make sense of the world. Personally, I have finally got around to reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (the irony!) and am really enjoying the NT streamings, “A Streetcar Named Desire” in particular, my husband has dusted off some vinyl and who, like us, hasn’t been drawn into the new virtual quiz world we now inhabit? Nothing can compensate for the real world, however, and while it may seem that not a lot is going on UTEA wise at the moment, the truth is we have been very busy behind the scenes, determined to turn a negative into a huge UTEA shaped positive! Martin and Lynne Clarke opened their beautiful garden for what would have been Open gardens on our calendar. Photos were uploaded, a totem built, Silver Band, Qigong and virtual tea party live streamed and £1200 raised in donations for Under the Edge Arts. What a way to beat the restrictions! Thank you to all who organised and participated. Open Gardens will be back in 2021. I know some of you have been able to work on your gardens a lot more than usual so could there be some new entries?! There is now a UTEA online art gallery on Facebook… http://www.facebook.com/uteagallery We’d love to see what you’ve been creating during lockdown, so please post your images on the page, or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org We have donated our bar snacks to WAMA for their food boxes. If you would like to make a donation or offer help then you can do so here- WottonAreaMutualAid@gmail.com As a Board, we had been discussing how to modernise UTEA. We have already had a sizeable declutter, installed WiFi, set ourselves up on Instagram and introduced a Volunteers’ Facebook page. We are now investigating cashless payment. A big focus behind the scenes is giving our website a complete makeover. We have enlisted the help of KLB Y11 Computer Studies students to help us and it is coming together well. Other plans in the pipeline are a UTEA slot on Wotton’s very own radio station: Edge Radio https://www.mixcloud.com/edgeradio/ We had already arranged for the hall floor to be renovated this August. With the closure of the hall due to lockdown, we decided it would be a perfect time to redecorate the place before the floor was done. How fantastic it would be to have a revamped, modernised, fresh look to UTEA when we can open up once again! So… Sponsor A Square was born, launched and received very positively. We soon reached our first milestone which enabled us to have all the prep work done. As I write, we are very close to our next milestone which will be put towards painting the walls. When we appealed to you, our lovely Volunteers for offers of paint, materials and painting time, we were touched by your responses and we have collated all these offers ready to contact you when the moment comes. We still need more paint (this will be to do the entrance hall, toilets and passageway next to the U.A. Fanthorpe Room). This can be emulsion (light colours preferred) or gloss/satin. It looks like we will be calling on volunteers to paint the panelling in the hall so have those paintbrushes at the ready! This can be done in a safe, socially distant way with a few people at a time in different areas.
Many of you have contributed to our Sponsor A Square fundraiser but should you have forgotten, or not got round to it yet, here is the link: -http://www.utea.org.uk/news
Finally, a few more things to keep you up to speed: We are very pleased to have received money from grants we have applied for, Wotton Town Council have waived our rent for this quarter and we have set up Easy fundraising so we earn money when people shop online.
Please sign up for this here
And finally, I just want to let you know what a fab group of Trustees and Board Members there are at UTEA and how much hard work, creative thinking and support there is here.
As always, please do get in touch if you have an idea you wish to share.
Sending out UTEA love and best wishes to you and your families,