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Dear friends

IIt’s been two months since we were forced to close the doors on Art & Soul in St Neots. These months have been both a blessed time of rest whilst also being a time of sadness as we wind up the business. For our fabulous staff team, it has also been a time of uncertainty and disappointment. We miss each other and all our customers! It has also been an opportunity to reflect on what we achieved in the 5 ½ years we were open, during the tumultuous times of the pandemic and ensuing crises. We’ve been humbled by countless messages of support, encouragement, and gratitude for the space and unique vibe that was Art & Soul. And we want to thank all our friends and customers for your loyalty during these years and continued offers of interest and support.

 

So, by way of update. St Neots council / Priory Centre have taken an 18-month lease on the premises whilst they vacate the Priory Centre for its refurbishment into what will become an exciting new venue for big events. They will be doing some alterations to the space so that they can accommodate lots of their client groups that they do not want to lose whilst closed. They will operate a simple café in the building, though not  like Art & Soul. It is good that the premises will still be used – we have too many empty shells in the town as it is.

 

Our original vision of connecting through creativity and good company as a community venue, still lives. Whether anywhere quite like the original Art & Soul is ever recreated remains to be seen. However, we have taken steps to open a Community Interest Company with aims to do much of what the original vision set out to do. This will allow more people from the community to play a part through volunteering, ideas and investment.

 

Over the coming weeks, together with friends who have already expressed interest, we will be exploring options. One thing that we are being increasingly drawn to is finding / using a space for a truly lively and contemporary community arts venue that gives artists of many varieties spaces to work and to promote their offerings. It can also be a place for young people to explore their creativity. Such a space would need to be muti functional and allow for performing arts. We would also hope to offer café and some food services because we know that magic happens over food and conversation! Whether this is a permanent space or more of a pop up / temporary initiative is still up for grabs. There are several empty premises in the town that we could approach to explore short term hosting. Perhaps one of the banks that have closed could think outside the box and offer their empty shells for constructive community spaces.

 

There will also be a new social media presence on its way, so please look out for this. And if you would like to offer your support or your ideas to this, we would love to hear from you. We want to sustain some momentum if we can and if there is sufficient interest for a future venture of some kind.

 

with love

Caroline & Tim

update july 2024

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