Eden Court in Inverness is to work with its funders the Highland Council to find ways for its 200 employees to join the authority’s response to Covid-19.
The two-theatre arts complex, the largest multi-arts venue in Scotland, closed due to Covid-19 on March 17. It presents some 450 live performances and 2,000 film screenings every year as well as 60 community classes a week.
The building is owned by the council, which says it recognises the risk and cost to itself and the public of losing the venue as an asset. The theatre was faced with laying off 200 staff, with 75% of its income coming from ticket sales and bar/cafe takings.
Eden Court chief executive James Mackenzie-Blackman said: “Following discussions with the Highland Council, Eden Court staff will, over the coming days and weeks, be invited to support the delivery of Highland Council’s resilience response.”
Council chief executive Donna Manson added: “We have been proactive and have come up with a very innovative solution to both address the crisis at Eden Court with the needs of our communities.
“Eden Court staff have many skills and can play an important role in community resilience, addressing isolation and assisting with our education programme to minimise the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our communities.”
Details of how staff members can help are still under discussion. Potential options include using the engagement team, who already work with children, young people and the community, to collaborate on the delivery of education projects for young people in the Highlands.
Eden Court and council staff will work together to plan activities to tackle loneliness over the coming weeks and months, while those who have experience working with vulnerable groups will use these skills in the community.
Eden Court staff are undertaking a skills audit to capture languages spoken and other special skills. These skills and resources will then be shared with the council to relieve pressure on their own service delivery.