Announcement from James Kearns - Chief Executive on Friday 23rd July 2021

I have reluctantly taken the decision this week to postpone the re-opening of our two large group activities, Fuse Parties LIVE and the Wednesday Club.

The lifting of legal restrictions by the UK Government on 19th July has given us all the opportunity to make individual choices about how we go about our daily lives in response to the continuing Covid-19 global pandemic. Whilst pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and even nightclubs are now legally able to open without any social distancing requirements, or the requirement to wear face masks, what has not changed is the risk of the spread of infection. Statistically that is rising faster than last Autumn, but is expected to peak in mid to late August based on some models, and whilst some people have continued to observe social distancing and mask wearing, many have exercised their rights to not do so. Whichever way you look at it, the spread of our so called “freedom” is linked to the spread of the virus.

In reaching my decision I have had a number of discussions with the venues that we want to use, volunteers who we would be asking to support people attending them, and people with disabilities who would be attending them. I have also taken advice from people in public health and social care, discussed this with the Chair of the Board of BUILD Charity Trustees, and looked at the local and national trends and forecasts of infections, hospitalisations and sadly deaths. 

Fuse LIVE parties potentially attract 200-300 people inside The Waterfront Venue and The Wednesday Club could have up to 50 people inside one large room. Added to the feedback from those listed above, I have concluded that in meeting our responsibility to keep vulnerable people safe, (many of whom have underlying health conditions), alongside our staff and volunteers, and do our bit of reducing risk of infection in our wider community, (or people being “pinged” into self- isolation,) we are better not to offer large group activities at the current time.

So what will not be happening?

  • The Fuse LIVE party scheduled for Tuesday 27th July is cancelled and we will be reviewing the situation next month ahead of the planned events on  26th August and 24th September.
  • The planned re-opening of The Wednesday Club at its new home on Sprowston Road on Wednesday 4th August has been put on hold and will be reviewed in mid-August to decide if there is sufficient confidence to re-launch in September

 What will still be happening?

  •  The Boating on the Broads days this weekend will still be going ahead, with face masks compulsory for those travelling within our provided transport
  • The advertised programmes for Grow and Go, Ten Pin Tuesdays next week will proceed as normal with the small groups already agreed
  • The advertised activities including Sunday Lunch and Supper Clubs, Ten Pin Tuesdays, Fitness for Fun, Cinema, Grow and Go, Sheringham Fun Day and Walkabouts scheduled for August will be going ahead as planned with pre-arranged small groups.
  • Virtual FUSE will return on-line on Thursday 29th July with a link to join in for free published on our Facebook page at 6pm on that day
  • A programme of Wednesday “Mini-clubs” are being developed where small groups of people can get together for pool, a pub chat, coffee clubs or arts and craft groups to launch if the postponement of full scale opening continues into September
  • We are also considering adding in some additional Wednesday night on-line activities on top of the current “Happy Hour” sessions
  • We will still require our staff and volunteers to be testing regularly, and specifically on each occasion that they are delivering face to face services, to try and make sure that is someone has been infected we can reduce the risk of passing it on.

This decision will be a disappointing blow to the many people who were looking forward to getting back to two of our most popular attractions. I share that disappointment greatly, but my view is that by being patient, and by being cautious, we have a better chance of us all being alive and well enough to join in when it is considered safe to do so.  This decision will be continually reviewed, based on information, interpretation and advice received.

Stay sensible and stay safe

 

James Kearns

Chief Executive