A social enterprise live music venue that will provide a welcoming and inclusive space for the people of Woking and beyond to gather, see original innovative live music of many genres and have an enjoyable night out. This will support the work of community groups, adult learners and those who are isolated by renting rooms for innovative work and arts related confidence building activities for adults as well as building skills to help those towards training, skills and employment. A drop in for Community learning Champions and others to meet people Staff and volunteers will be community workers and enablers to listen and assist with signposting. This is a new organisation being set up and seeking funding and volunteers from all Communities to see its vision become a reality for the town.
Woking has been developing rapidly in recent years and provision for the Youth Sector from the Ypod, Walton Road Youth Centre and other Youth groups have proved very successful, however, post 18 the provision for anything other than ‘the usual’ Town Centre activities falls away. The Town is currently undergoing a redevelopment and has many new Town Centre flats and homes being built yet many premises remain empty. There is live music in the Town Centre Pubs on Friday and Saturday nights however it has suffered from a negative image as a place where many Woking residents avoid. It has been noted that the town, unlike many others of this size does not have a Live Music Venue for innovative, local, original live music and arts that would appeal to a broader range of people. Whilst the town is developing as a shopping venue, its unique cultural heritage seems to be falling behind. The Lightbox makes a rich cultural contribution but it is true to say that many people who will go to Theatres, Lightbox etc. avoid Woking at night.
A centre where the local people can see live bands in a pleasant atmosphere is long overdue. In an attempt to bring more families into the Live Music scene which is so vibrant in Guildford, a festival was proposed as part of the Cultural Olympiad taking place in July 2012 and the Picnic In The Park festival is now scheduled to take place on 7 July 2012. The Lovely Music Night run every month showcasing original live music is helping to encourage Woking bands and artists to this festival as well as uncovering the talent that Woking has to offer. Bands and artists are willing to play and Guilfest and Weyfest main stage acts have asked for a repeat bookings proving that people will come out to watch and play in the town. Unlike Guildford which has Glive and the Boileroom to name two high profile venues, Woking seems to suffer a lack of this activity and the town’s own cultural fibre is in danger of being lost as generic high street names spring up. There are many unique qualities the town could offer for tourism especially in view of it’s distance and connections to London and Heathrow;- Many Jam fans come to see the town the band comes from, Science Fiction enthusiasts for the HG Wells connection, and those interested in history for the Mosque and its connections. In a recent visit to the town Paul Weller noted that there was no live music venue here which further attracted both public and press attention to the gap in provision.
A Centre such as this touching on all these aspects and providing cross-over activities which would reach many social, age and ethnic groups would further enhance social cohesion in the town and make people aware of the needs of others in the community. The benefits being that those who may well not have become involved before will find a route to share their skills and find what others from different backgrounds have to offer. Recently, reports have been issued citing the benefits of Leisure Learning in bringing out skills in people who lack confidence or feel they are limited in choices either educationally, socially or in their employment. Having a cultural hub where people can experiment in this way and have access to advice from those who have trained as Community Learning or Health Champions so near to facilities such as The Maybury Centre which houses the Neighbourhood Advice Centre and Liaise Women’s Centre and The Cornerhouse makes the support network for the area even stronger. Also, those who may be confident in the areas of work or business may lack confidence as writers and musicians and to enhance the wellbeing of the whole town a space where people can be encouraged regardless of their background, ethnicity, income or social class in what they wish to do or just try, can only bring people together. Drop in Friendship Groups which gave the opportunity to try new arts skills/find out about what the town offers, whilst making friends across cultures are no longer in the Town Centre. Many professional people also need help with stress and depression and these types of activities ultimately provide very valuable social returns on investment saving a great deal of money and easing the burden on services in the long term.
In addition, as a music venue it will be appealing to others in the Community; those who maybe work out of town and wish for lively but pleasant night out, or Sunday afternoon music more ‘chilled’ flavour. Being in such an environment will engage those who spend most of the week away from the area back to it’s own culture and rather than choose to go outside of the area for leisure, spend their time, and money in Woking, supporting the social enterprise as well as the economy of the town. It is not intended to double up on anything currently in place. The Lightbox holds workshops for families and exhibitions, the HG Wells, large concerts and conferences, The Maybury Centre, Cornerhouse and now the Vineyard Project all support the Community in their unique way, and in addition to that the Youth services such as YPod etc also.
The organisers are local residents and Community workers as well as musicians and writers, who have been working in the Woking Community for 15 years and are intending that this eventually be a social enterprise which will pay for itself, however, despite experience in Local Government, Community Development and Music events lack the funding to purchase/pay rent on a building and would wish to see a space where the people of Woking can create and celebrate their own ‘Woking’ culture out of the diversity all of it’s cultures have to offer, and working collaboratively with other social enterprises and charities in the Town.
Live Music: Band nights (different genres/themes). Jazz. Piano Bar. Traditional Music Sessions. Open Mic and Spoken Word nights.
Bookclubs & Reading groups (of many abilities and cultures)
Space for Community Champions to meet and give signposting services.
Music/Dance/Art Workshop activities
Meeting spaces for voluntary/community/businesses
Some parts of the building to be allocated for small social enterprise start ups/music tuition.
Examples of Other Projects
Passing Clouds Hackney http://www.passingclouds.org/
Tottenham Chances http://www.chancesclub.co.uk/
The Junction Cambridge http://www.junction.co.uk/
Support and advice for the project is being given by Passing Clouds and Tottenham Chances.
Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Adult Residents of Woking
Visitors to The Town
Community and Voluntary Groups
Learning & Service Providers
Woking Borough Council
Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Progressing the aims of the cultural strategy and meeting the community’s needs, including bringing our development plans relating to arts, sports, health and well-being and green spaces into force.
Increasing the number of people from all sections of the community taking part in sports and cultural activities and target programmes for under-represented groups.
Working with the Safer Woking Partnership to reduce crime, improve safety, and tackle anti-social behaviour.