Contractor for the Hope Project, R J Barwick, going in to administration
We are all feeling gutted by the unwanted development of the contractor for the Hope Project, R J Barwick, going in to administration. Friday 28 August was a black day. However, in the spirit of the Hope Project we are holding on to the good news that the work undertaken has been of a good standard, that there is considerable support for the project from our neighbours, friends and donors, and that the Gallery will reopen in 2010. The frustration is that, with the support of so many, we had just assembled the funds to commence restoration, we are now facing rising costs through extending the timetable, hire of scaffolding and security, and professional fees. It is a moment when we need the support of our donors, friends and supporters more than ever. During the passed few weeks we have been making ever effort to bring the project back on track, talking with the administrator, the bondsman, Heritage Lottery Fund, potential contractors, donors, etc.
A bright moment in the past few weeks was news that the very generous Garfield Weston Foundation has made a pledge to support our efforts to secure Watts’s Great Studio for public benefit and scholarship in perpetuity. This was a huge encouragement at this early stage in our campaign.
I am also encouraged by the success of our Gallery without Walls programme, showing our work at Guildford Cathedral, and in two exhibitions at Compton Verney and the Fitzwilliam. The Watts Collection and the Watts message is still being enjoyed by many.
My thanks to all of you who have sent through messages of support and every new Friends’ membership, or signed tile, or donation eases our pain. As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!