Making Sound Underground ...
Over the past 12 years, Sound Gallery Studios have welcomed through their doors thousands of aspiring musicians and high profile artists and have provided a safe haven for young people with mental health issues who are at risk of social exclusion. Our passion is to enable everyone to create music in all its healing forms (which may just be what the planet needs) and to work closely with the music industry to support our social objectives. Sound Gallery has also enriched Exeter's music scene through live music showcases (Phoenixsounds), music industry networking events (A2D Music Expo) and projects (Virtual Vincenzo), Exeter Rising Artists (ERA) & SiMPTI work experience programme.
Why we need your help
The studio is currently closed due to government directives and social distancing rules. Since March we have lost all our income and all our booking have been cancelled, which means that we cannot cover our overheads and operational costs. Despite our efforts to access emergency relief grants promised by the government to support businesses like ours we have been faced with exclusions and obstacles at every turn. This has resulted in us being currently unable to secure any grants to sustain the business. We have weathered many storms and have quietly endured the challenges that have been thrown at us (flooding incidents, business interruption, austerity and funding cuts). For the first time (and not without much deliberation), we are now asking our community, to help us keep Sound Gallery solvent and functioning to ensure that it will be around for everyone when this crisis is over.
How can you can help Sound Gallery?
We are looking to raise a minimum of £10,000 to help us pay for operational costs and overheads to survive the shutdown for the coming months. The fund will also enable us to develop and diversify what we do so we can steer our organisation through these troubled waters and continue to support musicians of all ages and backgrounds during the crisis and when the lockdown is over.
Please pledge what you can afford or forward this message to someone who may be able to help. We know these are hard times for many and we do not ask for this help lightly, especially in light of the devastating impact that this pandemic is having on lives. We encourage you to spread the word through social media and share your personal stories and experiences at Sound Gallery in the comments page of the campaign.
How can Sound Gallery help you?
We will continue to be a sonic beacon through these dark times. Music is our passion and it represents for many people a major life enhancing and (in many cases) a life-saving opportunity. Many of you may have experienced or may know someone who has benefited from the healing power of music. In return for your pledges we are offering rewards including the gift of music courtesy of hungersleep records, studio discounts and more.
Sound Gallery founder Jim Grice Peters wrote: ‘It feels a bit like getting the virtual busking cap out - that is where we started as musicians - and we are now offering our services and skills as troubadours and mentors 'for a song' :)
Your support is hugely appreciated and it will go a long way - come and be part of the next chapter of this remarkable journey. Thank you so much and stay safe.
Grice, Maria, Duncan and the whole Sound Gallery team X
'We have great memories of recording our debut album with Dakar Audio Club here and working with many young people from The Amber Foundation here with MIDI - Music In Devon Initiative some of whom got their first recording studio experiences and have gone on to develop their own original music- would like to donate 10 album cds to the cause and will chip in too. Good luck SGx' Nick Hall
'These are good people. Help support their business. Musicians need superb recording facilities such as this.' Stuart Pearce
'Sound Gallery Studios has been something of my home from home since my first recording session back in June 2012. I do hope the team at Sound Gallery CIC get through these uncertain times because not only are they an amazing team running a great studio but they do lots of good programs too. The Simpti sessions I’ve seen firsthand, they allow students to sit in on sessions and learn about the world of recording and studio life. Local music communities need places like Sound Gallery.' Ross Mayhew
'This is a really tough time for social enterprises, many finding they can’t access government support or funding. Sound Gallery CIC have supported aspiring musicians and been a safe haven for young people with mental health issues and at risk of exclusion for the last 12 years. Sound Gallery is trying to raise funds through a crowdfunded campaign in order to be here in the future. If you read through the FAQs you’ll understand that they have tried every route possible but are now relying on community support.' The Fruit Tree
Why don't you get a grant from the government? I thought they were providing lots of money for small businesses?
Sadly, due to specific criteria and technical loopholes, our organisation and thousands of others are not eligible for the £10,000 grant for small businesses who receive business rates relief (meaning pay 0 or very low business rates). Even though we do receive business rates relief and should be eligible for this government grant, because we pay rent and rates as one sum to the landlord (Exeter Phoenix) and not directly to the local council (which means that we are not the registered business rates payer) in effect, we are excluded from this scheme.
What about your business insurance or a loan?
Our insurance has rejected our claim for loss of income because they don't offer cover for pandemics. It would also be a great financial risk to get into more debt by getting a loan, whilst we have no income.
Can you get an overdraft from you bank?
Unfortunately, our bank does not offer overdrafts for Community Interest Companies (CIC)
Have you applied for support from local authorities?
Yes, we have, but it seems that their funds are mostly dedicated to delivering essential services (eg. food deliveries) or request that we run a specific project, rather than offering support for cancellations, loss of work and running costs to help a business survive. At the moment, we have been offered £1,000 by ECC to deliver a series of online music technology sessions free of charge. This fund is ring-fenced for young people with mental health issues, it does not cover our overheads and operational costs that we need to pay out over these months.
Have you applied for Arts Council funding?
We may be eligible to apply but the chances that we are going to be successful are very low due to the immense competition. This fund is aimed at arts organisations with a strong track record on public funded activities (as a social enterprise we mainly rely on earned income, not funding, although we have had some funding for specific projects). In the meantime, we need immediate financial support to help us survive. Having to apply for funding or bank loans at this difficult time is unfair and puts us under unnecessary stress whilst we are still facing an uncertain future.
How about the recently announced funding support for charities?
The recent announcement of financial support for charities, leaves once again social enterprises such as Sound Gallery out in the cold, as we are not a charity but a business with social objectives and the grants would probably be allocated to bigger charities rather than small social enterprises.
Social enterprises such as Sound Gallery CIC are not charities (which means that they don’t receive donations or are ran by volunteers). A social enterprise is a business but it has no shareholders, because it is not driven by profit, it is driven by social change, which means that our profits are used to support our social agenda and music enrichment programmes: https://www.sound-gallery.net/social-objectives/
It seems that once again businesses such as social enterprises are penalised for being not for profit as explained by Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK:
“The government has announced a package of support for charities and we understand that this will also cover some social enterprises, although some may be excluded due to restrictions on eligibility. “We welcome this £750m fund as a significant measure but when compared with the size of the charity and social enterprises sectors, it will only cover at best a small minority. It also does not give social enterprises parity with other parts of the economy which have receive large amounts of support. Social enterprises should not be penalised because of the tough environments they work in and the challenges they face in trading for purpose. We remain concerned that thousands of social enterprises delivering key services in local communities, employing and working with vulnerable people and operating in the most deprived areas will go without support. Many good businesses will close unless the government takes a broader approach.”