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Case Studies from the Sector: The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts

This project was supported by Suffolk Community Restart.

The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts (JPC) is a vibrant arts centre based in Stowmarket, at the heart of Suffolk. It offers a varied programme of music, theatre and comedy.

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Full text version:

There’s always something going on at the John Peel Centre. They put on a lot of arts events and activities, and the Centre’s facilities can be hired by members of the public to run their own events. As such, they’ve become a beacon of cultural and community activities.

Covid was significant in so many ways. Practically speaking, as a live performance venue, they were unable to operate as they usually would for a very long time. But emotionally, too, the impact was great. Staff and volunteers alike missed the simple pleasure of seeing each other, planning, and putting on events for the community to come together and enjoy. They felt that they couldn’t be there for their community. Luckily, there was a silver lining in the form of a fundraiser, Challenge81, which saw staff, volunteers and artists work together remotely to raise funds for the Centre’s survival, in celebration of what would have been John Peel’s 81st birthday.  It showed them all how much love there was for the John Peel Centre and the work they do.

The Centre was financially impacted, too. Without the opportunity to apply for grants to cover their costs while they were unable to operate, they might not be here today. Moving into the future, they remain cautious – it’s no mean feat organising indoor events in a post-Covid world!  But the Centre has been awarded £2160 to cover the cost of cleaning from a professional company, so that everyone can feel more at ease.

Of course, Covid still exists, and the Centre are doing all they can to protect staff, volunteers, audiences and artists. But to be able to reopen, and see people in person, means the community can finally come together again.

This project was supported by Suffolk Community Restart.