Okehampton music charity Wren Music hit a staggering £7,500 fundraising target in two days following an urgent appeal for donations after other funding opportunities dried up.

Wren Music launched its Bridge the Gap fundraising campaign to raise £7,500 on June 30 and reached the target within 48 hours. The charity said that without the generosity of its supporters, they would not have survived to September 2023, with Wren Music treasurer Hugh Sutherland  adding that the charity’s future was “on a knife-edge”. 

In previous years, Wren Music was able to lead EU-funded projects through the Erasmus+ scheme, which helped to bridge the gap during the summer months, but this was no longer an option following Brexit, and the UK Government’s replacement Turing Fund does not support the kinds of community projects run by Wren Music.

The charity’s chief executive Marilyn Tucker said: “Unlike some other arts organisations, our musicians and office team are employed week in, week out, all year round. This means that most of our costs are the same for every month of the year. But our income goes up and down: contracts with schools and community groups are paused for the summer months.

“We are so grateful that so many people felt they wanted to help Wren Music to stay open. Without them, our 40th year would have been our last. But although we have met the bare minimum target, any further contributions are greatly appreciated.”

The success of the appeal means Wren Music can plan for the new term for the arts programme in September and other events. The team has developed new ideas for ways to connect more people together through folk music.

Since their launch in 1983, Wren Music has worked with tens of thousands of people of all ages in communities across Devon, introducing them to traditional music and connecting them with each other. Among the local projects are community music groups, work with care homes and schools, and Singing for Wellness – a choir for people with respiratory conditions.

Wren Music projects in Okehampton this summer include instrument playing sessions for children, outdoor junk music sessions for people of all ages, a supportive “self-help” singing club and a new folk club for Okehampton – both once a month on Sunday evenings. This work can now continue – all details are in the “what’s on” section of the website (https://www.wrenmusic.co.uk/).

Wren Music has a secure giving page for those who wish to donate to Bridge the Gap at www.wrenmusic.co.uk/support-us/donate