Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC

OUR AIMS – What the Phoenix Centre is about.

To provide a live music, cultural and grassroots arts venue in Woking run by and for the people of Woking to

  • bring great touring music of every genre 
  • Provide a platform for local original bands to play
  • be a place where people of all ages, backgrounds and genders can enjoy, socialise and express their own creativity
  • Give learning, training and employment opportunities in creative industries, hospitality, arts and community to everyone
  • Promote equality, diversity and wellbeing

OUR VALUES – Our ethos and principles – we seek to promote equality in music and related industries, wellbeing for all and to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our town. A non profit welcoming community venue business run by the community for the community

Brief History of Phoenix Cultural Centre

In 2008 local musician and community worker Elaine McGinty ran music nights in and around the area to support charities like Oxfam, The Robyn Higgins Trust etc She also wrote the proposal for what became the now annual Party In The Park adopted by Woking Borough Council in 2012 where she ran the main stage showcasing Woking bands. 

In 2010 a regular night was set up The Lovely Music Night taking excellent original live music to various locations around Woking, but restricted by no live music venue here. Teaming up with bandmate and co-founder Joe Buckley, who had been involved in running venues and workshops across London and Cambridge and based on her experience in community work in Surrey as well as both being musicians in various bands, they saw a need for a live music venue that also served as a cultural centre to unite people from different parts of and bring an alternative social space to Woking, with the unique identity of a non affiliated community run space as part of the regeneration . Music is a common language with no barriers and through they saw a way that people can identify with each other and build a community venue that puts its profits back into supporting health, wellbeing and new talent who had no venue to play, a beacon for equality in music and training future creative industry practitioners.

In 2013 a local shop landlord lent the project a shop in Goldsworth Rd for 6 months that turned into 5 years as a small acoustic venue. In 2014 the full council accepted a petition for the project to be assisted to a permanent site in Woking Town Centre. The Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC was registered as a community interest company in 2015. The small premises hosted a variety of music activities from beginners, workshops to album launches, book launches, computer, confidence and workplace training, support groups, poetry, writing and much more. As well as this Streetlive, Food Festival, Sheerwater Festival & Busking live music was provided by Phoenix CIC on the street, music in dementia care homes, WWF Earth Hour, The Lightbox and their own festival Phoenix Rising in Woking Park every year. 

In March 2016 Woking Borough offered the lease on Quake nightclub until March 2020 as a temporary venue. Lease negotiations were completed in March 2018. We had the venue for two years but was closed by Covid. We had an offer of a permanent space to move into but WBC went into debt and couldn’t complete their landlord works. WBC recommended trying to gain funding for Your Fund Surrey who took two years to review the bid and despite recommendation, rejected it. At this point ECOWorld offered to save us from closure by using  a large space in Goldsworth Rd as a meanwhile space that we are opening in October 2023 for three years. We have three years to prove that this is needed and wanted in Woking Town Centre. We have a great music & cultural heritage here, we want to make a great future too for many generations. 

Useful links to related organisations

We are members of or connected to

Music Venues Alliance (Music Venues Trust)

Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum (SMEF) 

Royal Society of Arts (RSA)

School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE)

Community Business Leaders Programme – Power to Change

One For All Community Business Leaders UK Support 

Clore Experienced Social Leaders Alumni

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