Imagine: You have to close. Right now! No ifs, no buts, no maybes. Now!
In the freezer are meals for the next month. In the diary: shows, events, concerts, booked for the next year.
Not with Cheltenham Trust! The Board, Chief Executive and her team saw this - lockdown - as a way to help other people; to use their food stocks to provide meals for Cheltonians in need. Working with Cheltenham Council and the Help Hub, they did amazing work.
Some 3000 hot meals went to people in need: families, older people, those shielding because they were vulnerable. Through the worst part of the pandemic, they were there, helping our friends, neighbours, fellow Cheltonians.
As lockdown eased, the Trust decided to open to the people. So, free music events have been held at Pittville Pump Room and the Garden Bar at the Town Hall and have helped cheer the town.
Hundreds of people have enjoyed an afternoon of music and dance at the Pump Room and downed pizzas and paninis, tea, coffee and other drinks. The Garden Bar too has been full of people wanting a bit of a break and some enjoyment.
Music, food and drinks in lively locations, have given a respite from Covid19. As if that isn't enough, Cheltonians artwork has been on display!
Now, with Leisure@ opening and the pool scheduled to open in August, planning for the future is in hand.
Of course, a lot of income has been lost, but Laurie Bell, Chief Executive, has been leading a team that had been working hard, looking to next year and beyond. Changes are planned for the Wilson, that will benefit Cheltenham, our artists and young people. Pittville Pump Room will grow as a place to enjoy.
Lunch, dinner, a snack, musical and other events will create a family hub at the Garden Bar over the summer and into next year.
The lockdown disaster has been transformed into an opportunity to recreate Cheltenham's gems as the heart of our community.
Well done Laurie Bell. Well done to your staff. Well done Cheltenham Trust.