News 24th March 2020

How thrive can help during the COVID-19 outbreak

Firstly, the team at thrive hope you and your family are safe and well and continue to be so. It is an unbelievably scary and uncertain time but we can and will come out the other side.

We are now working from home, following government advice, washing our hands and dealing with personal needs across our families. We imagine you, like us, are just taking each day or even hour, as it comes and going between emotional and practical responses.

What we need, as people and as people who are part of the Arts and Cultural sector, will change over the days, weeks and months ahead. Our audiences are also people and we need to remember that too.

For now thrive is here to try and help in whatever way we can. We know basics like income to pay bills and income to keep paying staff, freelancers etc. are uppermost in your minds. We suggest you look at the following websites and links to get the expert information on what support there is and will become available. We know that freelancers and self-employed are especially worried and we hope a package of support is announced soon.

  • This is the NI government site with lots of information across a range of areas. It includes information on all the current government support schemes and contacts and contact for HMRC.
  • Martin Lewis is really good for simple and plain advice explaining about government support, benefits, dealing with banks etc from both a personal and professional point of view.
  • The Public Health Agency is giving out information about Coronavirus and how to try and protect yourself and your family.
  • If you are, or someone you know is, really struggling to cope, please use the mental health charities like Samaritans or Lifeline Helpline that are trying to support us all. Some links to these and please use them if you need to. It’s not a time to be brave and soldier on if you really can’t. They are overwhelmed a bit just now but are trying to do what they can as well and I’m sure will be planning more resource to come.

As we move from initial anxiety, practical action and bewilderment, you may find you want to focus on work to give you some structure and a diversion from the constant stream of news. You may not feel like that now, but you may in time to come. At some stage we will start to think about the other side and time now might be useful in doing those work things we never get around to because we are so stretched. That’s where we can help – this week, or next, or whenever.

We’re available via email for any queries about any of the things that cover audiences, research insight, audience experience, access, evaluation, surveys, box office system etc. All the stuff we’ve been doing before this happened.

We are continuing to develop our online, free resources. Toolkits and templates that you may need now and those you may need in time. We are continuing to look at what insight is out there and curate that for you to keep informed. We are helping organisations think about the dialogue they have with their audiences. All this work now has a slightly different lens but it’s still important we keep providing these resources.

We will be delivering free events, open to anyone in the cultural sector. Now they will be online and the content will alter if we feel it needs to because of what you need from us – so let us know what would be most useful. To start those conversations and give regular support, our free Audience Appointments will be weekly for the foreseeable future. Book online and chat to one of the thrive team.

We are collaborating with other sector support organisations to ensure we join up and support what each of us is doing. While we don’t want to bombard you, we will keep signposting and sharing relevant things.

We will continue as we can with projects some of you are involved in already and working with those involved to do the best and most sensible thing.

We will also be planning for what might be next and getting our systems, processes and plans in order for the next phases of all of this and the eventual recovery.

We don’t have the answers – we never claimed we did but we have always said we’d try and help you ask the right questions. Please use us at this time to keep doing that.

Take care,

Margaret, Fiona, Claire-Rose, Christine, Laura, Maurane and Lee

Fiona Bell

Chief Executive

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