Vivacity appeals for support from city when lockdown lifts

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Stewart Francis, chair of Vivacity, hopes Peterborough residents will support Vivacity and other organisations when lockdown is lifted

A month later every part of the leisure, cultural, heritage “life blood” of the city remains effectively mothballed. The vast majority of our 450 staff is furloughed and our 400 volunteers are at home. 116,000 people in the city (over half the population) were using our services.

All those using our gyms, taking swimming lessons, visiting the Key Theatre or buying a coffee in the museum café were contributing to keeping the Lido and the Key Theatre open, kids clubs during holidays, a literacy programme to help children read, the Bunny Bus, inclusive sports, the city’s hydrotherapy pool, the free Heritage Festival, arts and sports development and health programmes for those suffering from cardiac problems, stroke, and depression. These services provide the glue that binds communities together and life in our city would be unimaginable without them.

Over the last ten years it has been through city residents’ support of our charity that we have been able to make a real difference to people’s lives be it through entertainment, education or health and wellbeing.

Our grant from Peterborough City Council has in real terms been more than halved through the years of austerity, as central government has squeezed their finances. So, it is you the citizens of Peterborough who along with our fantastic staff and management who have ensured that through that difficult period we have delivered more and better services across the city. It is you, the people of Peterborough, who have supported this remarkable growth while enjoying a show or getting fitter.

The success that is Vivacity is a success for our wonderful city and its people, but all this is now under threat. As of today, we have no idea of when and how we can reopen our many venues across the city. But, what I can tell you on behalf of Vivacity’s Trustees is that we are going to do our level best to do so as soon as we are able.

When this lockdown ends I think you will probably see our venues and services open slowly and there may be changes to our operations to protect you until we are rid of this horrible virus.

Our city can bounce back, but how quickly will depend largely on two things – support from government and support from you.

All I ask is that when we emerge slowly from lockdown please come back to us and help us and many other organisations finish what we have started – that is to make Peterborough the healthiest and happiest place to live in Eastern England.

By Stewart Francis, Vivacity chair