Browning Street Studios and COVID-19

We value the health, safety and wellbeing of our co-operative members, music teachers, their students and our entire studio community during this time. Please liaise directly with your teacher about lesson arrangements during COVID-19 restrictions. We are closed to the general public at this time, and visits to the studio premises are strictly by appointment only.

Our co-operative is rallying behind our member-owners, who are primarily musicians and music teachers. Read on to find out more about our innovative member support bursaries, teaching and learning fund and student support scholarships.

Supporting Our Membership During COVID-19

The West End Music and Dance Teachers’ Co-operative Ltd provides resources, space and support for fourteen music and arts micro-enterprises on a not-for-profit basis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, co-operative members have needed to adapt to changing public health directives and move work primarily into the online space. Maintaining relationships with students, colleagues and artistic practice has been challenging during this time, but being part of a co-operative has provided an important safety net and community of care for our local musicians and artists. Musicians and arts practitioners are not strangers to housing insecurity, low and fluctuating incomes and our co-operative was established from an existing community enterprise in 2013 with a founding mission to provide economic safety and support.

During May and June 2020, the co-operative has frozen all studio hire fees, essentially removing the major business cost for our member micro-enterprises. Yet a recent in-depth engagement with all of our members has revealed that many are struggling to set-up workable home studios, with difficulty accessing good internet connections, suitable IT equipment and a quiet, private work-space. Some are struggling with housing itself. This is drastically affecting our members’ ability to adapt to new work environments, and is affecting their confidence to engage with clients and maintain positive working relationships. In response, the co-operative has established a discretional fund. This funding pool will be held in trust in the co-operative’s trust holding account with Bank Australia and funds will be distributed at the discretion of the Board based upon a set of recommendations approved by the membership. Fast turnaround on all applications will be the priority so the Board will refine processes for approvals of release of funds as soon as possible. The co-operative will establish a fund co-ordinator to promote the fund and liaise with the Board and fund contributors.

About our Discretionary Fund

The discretionary fund will have three major funding outcomes, in order of need:

  1. Member support bursary – the co-operative will initially prioritise release of funds to those members who are not yet stable in the home-work environment. Examples of funded items include home internet connections, essential furnishings or equipment such as webcams, midi keyboards or microphones, contributions to emergency home rent and purchase of mobile data. An initial limit of $350.00 per application will apply. The bursary is a one-off, discretional payment and does not provide ongoing support to members. Priority will be given to members who are unable to access other forms of government support, or are waiting for government support.
  2. Teaching and learning fund – at the approval of the membership, the co-operative will fund professional development, capital purchases and software subscriptions that benefit all members. These purchases will not be at the detriment of ensuring all members are stable and secure in their home-work environments. These purchases will provide ongoing benefit to the co-operative and enable the co-operative to effectively adapt to changing circumstances and markets.
  3. Student scholarship fund – teachers will also be able to apply to the student scholarship fund on behalf of a student or students who are unable to access lessons during this time due to family economic circumstances. The student must demonstrate ongoing commitment to their learning via a submitted learning plan for the term. Funding will be limited to one term’s tuition at the teacher’s current rates. Members will determine the amount of student scholarship funding available on a month-by-month basis. Your teacher can provide more information.

To make a donation to the fund, you can make a direct deposit to our trust account:

BSB: 313-140 (Bank Australia)
A/C: 12063600
NAME: WEST END MUSIC AND DANCE TEACHERS' CO-OPERATIVE LTD TRUST ACCOUNT

If you use your email address as the reference, we will keep in touch regarding how donations will be spent.

Alternatively you may donate to our gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-member-support-bursary

If a tax invoice or receipt is required, please email accounts@browningstreetstudios.com.au