Donations needed now for Market Drayton venue and food bank, supporter warns amid coronavirus fears
With the Festival Drayton Centre closing its theatre indefinitely and refunding tickets in line with the Government's coronavirus recommendations, one woman has suggested donating the costs of refunds to help the community-owned venue pay its bills.
The Market Drayton centre released a statement on Tuesday, saying: "In response to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday advising that people should avoid non-essential contact with others, regrettably all public events in the centre's auditorium are currently suspended/cancelled.
"The theatre will remain closed until further notice and will reopen as soon as possible, following government recommendations. Where possible, we will be trying our hardest to look at rescheduling dates for the future.
"We appreciate this will be extremely disappointing news, but hope customers will understand the unprecedented nature of the current circumstances. Ultimately the health and wellbeing of all of our volunteers and customers is the most important consideration at this time.
"We will be looking to offer full refunds for all ticket sales and we will be in contact with all of our customers in due course, but please be patient as these may take time."
Jan Whitehouse, who lives in Loggerheads and loves seeing shows at the centre, said that those who are able could give the proceeds from refunded tickets back.
She said: "The Festival Drayton Centre has had to cancel all of its shows.
"Those that are able could donate refunds to the centre. They are still going to have running costs even though shows are cancelled.
"I go there quite a lot, I use the cafe quite a lot.
"Every town needs something like the Festival Drayton Centre, it's absolutely superb."
Robyn Edwards, who manages the centre, said: "It is so heart-warming to hear comments like this, that makes everything we do on a daily basis worthwhile. We put our heart and soul into the centre and it’s so nice to hear people appreciate and respect that.
"In terms of how the centre will be hit, of course that is a concern as predominately all of our income generators have been suspended/cancelled for the foreseeable future – however we are confident that when this situation is resolved we’ll be back with a bang and the community of Market Drayton will be back here supporting us."
Market Drayton Food Bank
Mrs Whitehouse said that the Market Drayton Foodbank has also suffered in the light of coronavirus-related panic buying and is now "absolutely desperate" – food donations have dried up but the volunteers are also limited in the supplies they can buy with the money they are donated because of shortages on items like toilet roll and hand sanitiser.
The food bank posted a statement last week which said: "In just over two months since January 1, the foodbank has fed 537 adults and children with over five tonnes of food.
"Our stocks are extremely low and we are struggling to meet the demand. Please can you help by donating?"
There are collection points for the food bank at various supermarkets in the town, churches and some businesses.
Some of the most urgently-needed items this week include UHT milk, tinned meat such as corned beef and cereal.
To learn more, visit marketdrayton.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food.