A Roller-coaster week

This last week has been one of the most dramatic I’ve experienced. A week ago we received the devastating news that the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), after endless postponed deadlines, had decided against funding the purchase of The Steading. It was a serious blow and some of you will have seen the press coverage we razzled up last Monday. No point in asking the whys and why nots; we arranged an emergency Trustee’s meeting to decide our next steps, which, frankly, looked as though it would involve using our existing funds to do what we could to preserve what we could of Tim’s work and Archive and possibly even winding up the Trust.

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But then … but then … on Monday we suddenly had the offer of a £50,000 pledge, maybe even more, if we could secure the rest. This was from someone who has never even seen The Steading except in a newspaper article but thought it so special that it needed saving.  Then, on Wednesday, as I drove through rain so heavy that I could barely hear anything, I had a phone call from someone else who had read our desperate story in The Times. He also has never seen The Steading but had such happy memories of Café Gandolfi from his Glasgow days that he was moved to help and has offered £250,000 as a pledge. We also already had a pledge of £10,000 from a trust, for when we have bought The Steading to go towards further work.

Café Gandolfi

So suddenly the game changed. There is now real hope. But there is also still quite a lot to raise! And we have until February to raise it. So what else have we done this week?  We have adapted our application to NHMF and turned it into a Prospectus. It’s up on the website here so that you can see the inspiring programme we have planned for the future life of The Steading. It’s a really worthwhile project to support; one that covers a wide area of interests and many different people.

We need donations or pledges of any size – many a pickle makes a muckle, as they say: just look at Captain Tom Moore’s effort. If you have already supported us we really are extremely grateful for your generosity; it’s really heartening to see how much larger our group has become.  So how else could you help us?

We are planning a big fund-raising event that we hope will get national and international coverage, but this will take some planning and we’ll give you details later. In the meantime, we are setting up a Crowd-funder which should go live next week. We’ll let you know as soon as it does and when that happens, please can you to help us to share it as widely as possible; people are more inclined to donate on the word of someone they know and trust.

Times are hard for many businesses but we know that not all businesses have been adversely affected by the pandemic and we also know that some businesses have a charity policy. So if you know of a business that would find our project worthy, it would be wonderful if we could be introduced to them.

 Keep safe and keep well,

Nichola Fletcher

Chair, the Tim Stead Trust