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Covid-19 Update – May 2021

We’re thrilled to be re-opening further for Step 3 from Mon 17th May and welcoming more groups back, including many of our adult fitness, well-being and leisure activities.

Our updated opening times for classes and activities from 17th May until at least 21st June will be:
Mondays: 9am-10pm
Tuesdays: 9am-7.30pm
Wednesdays: 9am-10pm
Thursdays: 9am-7.30pm
Fridays – 9am-6pm
Saturdays – 9am-5pm

Visit our Regular Activities page for contact details of our Arts and Leisure | Health and Wellbeing | Children and Learning activity class leaders.

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Newsletter – Apr 2021

  1. Re-opening from Monday 19 April and planned stages
  2. Our Reach Out Projects
  3. Improvements to the House
  4. Sculpture Commission Opportunity
  5. Summer Garden Activities
  6. Staff, Governance, Money and Resilience

1. We are SO excited to be re-opening Mycenae House from Monday 19 April 2021
We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the house over the coming weeks, until the point where there are no Covid-19 restrictions and we all have the freedom to do those wonderful and enriching things that we may have taken for granted pre-pandemic.

In line with the Government 4 Step Roadmap and in response to our users and community needs, what follows is Timetable for Reopening Mycenae House :-

STAGE 2 – Monday 19th April until at least Monday 17th May 2021
Opening times:
Monday to Friday – 9am -til 1pm & 3.30pm til 7.30pm
Saturday – 9am til 5pm

Please note we will not be open during the evenings.
Permitted activities – Children’s activities (up to 15 parents/carers) plus One to One Therapy Sessions .
The office will also be staffed on weekday mornings from 19th April.

STAGE 3 – Monday 17 May at the earliest we will be allowed to invite all groups and users back into the house including evening activities, fitness & well-being activities and some small scale social activities. The confirmation on the lifting of our own restrictions will coincide with the Government’s announcement on lifting its national restrictions

STAGE 4 – From Monday 21 June 2021.
All remaining restrictions should be lifted and at this point all of our normal activities will fully resume, including concerts, wedding receptions and parties. Again all subject to confirmation by the government.

Talk To Us
You know we are only too pleased to welcome you back and we encourage you to speak to us early, to talk things through and explore all angles and issues. Contact details are info@mycenaehouse.co.uk, 020 8858 1749, www.mycenaehouse.co.uk.
Our Continued Commitment to Your Covid-19 Security – for all visitors, users and our staff. We will continue to adhere to the guidelines including 2m distancing, wearing face masks, handwashing and other additional safeguarding measures for your safety.

2. Reach Out Project is Back Up and Running
Our award winning social inclusion project has a huge programme of activities and events to support those that are socially isolated and suffer poor physical and mental health and loneliness in our community. From May 17 the senior citizens drop-in cafe and digital inclusion workshops will resume. They will be limited in numbers to start with but we are excited to once again serve our wider community.
We have launched a fundraising programme to support Reach Out, which had previously been self-funded from any surplus made from running Mycenae House. Due to the year long Covid-19 pandemic our earned income has dropped by 87%, so until we rebuild our business model we will need to find external funding to support this work. Donations can be made here: https://gofund.me/2e283eef, please feel free to share this link.

3. You’ll Soon See How Busy We’ve Been!
Our volunteers and staff have been tirelessly working away to improve and maintain the House, particularly since January, which has included lots of painting, plastering, a brand new floor in the main hall, installation of new digital signage, a new digital workshop space, creating a new web site, new lighting and curtains, and we have installed lots of framed pictures of local interests in many of the rooms. We hope you notice the difference.

4. Commissioning Sculpture for Mycenae House
As a result of a very generous family legacy gift we have set about commissioning two sculptures to be sited in architectural coves at the front and rear of the building. The coves have lain empty since 1964 and we are delighted to open this opportunity up to local three-dimensional artists to create unique artworks. The commission is open to proposals from artists until the 21st June when a panel of three people will choose from all of the entries. More information is available from https://mycenaehouse.co.uk/2021/03/23/artist-commission/
The arts have also played a massive part in the lives of our people in the last year so it is wonderful to report that despite being closed, our exhibition of drawings by Isobel Kimberely went ahead at Mycenae House and via many many digital viewings, Isobel managed to sell all of the exhibited pictures. It was a stunning show and very rewarding to help in her success. We can also report that another artist we work closely with, Lesley Hall has been an award winner several times over since the pandemic started. Lesley teaches and leads several art classes at Mycenae every week and is a mighty fine draught woman, painter, photographer and jeweller.

5. Summer Garden Activities
As a plan to help our communities re-engage with one another and with us at Mycenae House we are planning a series of cultural afternoon events in the garden across the summer. It is a plan that we are just working on now but to give you a glimpse we are planning 3 live music picnics with Jazz, Classical and Folk and World Music, we are also planning three live events centred around dance and theatre and a family activities event. All will be free but will be ticketed and limited to 100 people each event.

6. Staff, Governance, Money and Resilience
We have retained all of our staff (doffing cap to the Furlough system), who mainly appear to be in rude health and are keen to get back to serving our communities. Our board of trustees remain supportive and resolute. We will be looking for new trustees to support and re-energise the organisation as we plot a new future so please do let us know if you are someone or know someone who could bring positive skills, experience and ideas to help us going forward. Financially the pandemic has hit all organisations hard and we are no exception (with income down 87% and costs only marginally lower than normal), however we remain resilient and financially strong thanks to our financial reserve policy and to the generosity of the furlough system and the Royal Borough of Greenwich council’s support for the Voluntary sector.

Congrats and Good luck to our staff and friends – The lockdown has obviously been long and provided more personal time so it comes as no surprise to report that three people we know and work very closely with have become pregnant and are about to have new babies. We can’t wait to meet our new little friends!

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Artist Commission

ARTIST COMMISSION – Submissions Invited

Mycenae House is delighted to announce the commission of two sculptures by local artists for permanent display on the outside of its building in Blackheath.

Submissions by locally based and/or locally working artists are invited until 21st June 2021. Artists are invited to submit initial ideas in the way of sketches and by also providing photographs of previous work along with biographical information.

Each artists submission will be considered by a panel of three people including the CEO of Mycenae House, a member of the funder’s family and a commissioning advisor. We are looking for two discrete designs to make weather resistant artworks that will sit within slim architectural coves – see photographs below.

The combined budget for the commission is £2500 in total, including delivery and installation.

Context
Following a legacy gift given by a supporter of Mycenae House, we wish to enhance the outside of building with original artworks. Mycenae House was built as a convent in the 1930’s and two statues of the Virgin Mary filled the architectural coves at the front and rear of the house. In 1964 the convent was closed and both sculptures were removed from the coves which have lain empty ever since. This generous funding is allowing us to fulfil a long-held desire to return the coves to their original purpose of housing sculptures that reflect the building and its function as a community space for all.  We wish for artists to have the freedom to respond to this artistic challenge as they choose, however we do not wish to commission sculptures that reflect its religious history.

Further details: mark@mycenaehouse.co.uk

Please view our website www.mycenaehouse.co.uk/whats-on/ to see the broad range of activities at Mycenae House.

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Covid-19 Update – Feb 2021

Mycenae House Update – Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Mycenae House welcomes the Government’s announcement regarding its Roadmap to re-opening society.

Our initial response is to simply recognise the key dates below within the plan which effect our organisation. They are:-

12th April 2021 at the earliest as a likely date for re-opening the house for children’s classes and activities plus other permitted sectors, probably on a daytime basis only (evening opening to follow later).

17th May 2021 at the earliest as a likely date for re-opening the house for indoor group fitness & exercise and other leisure activities, as well as cultural events with a limited capacity, both during the daytime and evening.

21st June 2021 at the earliest as a likely date for re-introducing parties, wedding receptions, social and cultural events without limits on capacity.

As ever we will re-open as much as we can, as soon as we can, including opening the cafe and offering outdoor activities. Please look out for clarification in due course.

As ever we are grateful for your patience and we look forward to welcoming you all back to the house.

Best Wishes,
Mycenae House

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Covid-19 Update – Jan 2021

Dear friends, wishing you all a Restorative, Healthy and Hopeful 2021.

We thought it timely to update you all about Mycenae House, given it is a new year and now that we may finally have light at the end of the tunnel regards to the unspeakable virus. And, as we have more time to think, this update is a little longer than we might ordinarily have done so, here’s hoping you might have a little time to give it a look over.

If like us, you are still battling hard to remain on the front foot, we salute you. In looking forward you may well be thinking about the great things that could be possible in the coming year. I know we are. Holidays, family gatherings, parties, simple hugs, seeing friends again or just going to work? On these grey, wet, and cold days of January it can be hard to stay that positive but try we must. If you simply cannot and it’s getting you down, then please consider reaching out to others for help. We and many others are here to help.

The good news is that when it is safe to do so, we are all likely to be so grateful to meet in the physical world again and we may never again take for granted the joys of social interaction. We as the team at Mycenae House have missed seeing you all SO much, and indeed missing seeing each other too.  

The lights are on, but almost nobody is home!

Sadly, the house is all but closed to the wider community for now. BUT, our own Bo Peeps Pre-School is still running daily to support the children of Key Workers and vulnerable families. If there was ever any time to be proud of them, it is right now – They are such dedicated and wonderful people working tirelessly to support and develop these youngsters whilst toiling to keep them and their staff safe from Covid 19. Given the lack of clarity from those in higher places, Bo Peeps and other early years initiatives have shown their steely resolve and commitment to our children and their future and we should be proud. We are also supporting NHS organisations to deliver their own staff training at Mycenae House and it has been impressive to see their commitment and their fearless dedication too. We salute you all! Additionally, some of our spaces have been used for several permitted activities over the last few months including filming for tv, online martial arts training, online live music gigs, inset training for teachers, digital and hybrid meetings and also theatre and dance rehearsals.

Strong, Committed and Eager to Get Going Again!

As an organisation, as a business, as a group of colleagues and with the governance that seeks a positive future, I am so proud of how Mycenae House is holding up. Many have asked how long we can keep going in the current circumstances with no income. The honest and simplest answer is that we are doing remarkably well but of course we are under strain. We are strong financially, mentally and in good health so far (touch wood). Sadly, we of course are not delivering anywhere near the levels of social benefit to the community as we would like (given we rely on physical interaction). What is clear though is that we will need to reinvent ourselves and cut our cloth accordingly to be able to deliver the quality of support to our community, as we continue to aspire to and regain a sustainable model.

Our commitment to our members and our community!

Mycenae House has an eternal commitment to serve our community and support you, our partners, and others to help deliver that mission. Nothing changes and it will not change, whatever happens. As a statement, it’s now wearing thin but as we said when this all started ‘we go into this together and we aim to come out of it together’, our aim is still the same. We don’t expect everything to return exactly as it was, but we do hope that you will still be able to and want to work with us again. We are here to support you in any way we can, and we are ready to explore the future and talk with you whenever you are ready. Don’t be shy, the channels are open.

Our hopes for the next 6 months

As the vaccines get rolled out and the good weather returns, and if the NHS becomes less strained, our hope is that we will be allowed to mix as a community again. It may be limited and tentative to start with, but we want to be ready to deliver our best for you again. We have a few things in mind. We think people will be prepared to come into the gardens again before the house. We aim to have a number of exciting but safe events in the garden this summer. We would like to have music, family and young people’s events and arts activities in the fresh air and safe and well-spaced. Just image having fun with other people with the warmth of the sun on your face! We are also thinking of promotional opportunities for you the organisations, users and providers from the Mycenae family (you) to help you restart and rebuild. We are also keen to get the inside of the house up and running in the best way we can as soon as possible. Interestingly the phone has not entirely stopped ringing and people are still asking about parties, weddings and new activities as well as asking about when activities will be up and running again.

Café Bar to Re-Open First

We have agreed that we will reopen the café as a first step as a take-away for the people using the gardens. For the first time ever, we will open over both days of the weekend to serve people stretching their legs and enjoying fresh air. We will promote when this happens through social media channels very soon and feel free to pop down for a luxury hot chocolate or a bag of piping hot chips.

A final word on the staff and trustees

I cannot finish this update without paying tribute to the staff and trustees of Mycenae House. Sadly, many of us are part or fully furloughed but that has not stopped many of the staff demonstrating their commitment to the organization with many offering to come in to work on making the house ready to reopen. May I also pay tribute to the trustees of the VCA (Mycenae House charity) particularly to Jane Stephenson and Sara Whyatt who continue to provide the guidance and confidence to work our way through these difficult times.

Mark Johnson-Brown, Executive Director