Help the West London Buddhist Centre Survive the Coronavirus Crisis
This is not an email I wanted to send but I am writing to you because I need your help.
It is now a month since we closed the centre building in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. At that time I had four main concerns; how to stay connected with and support our spiritual community, how to continue to offer the Dharma, how to provide a context for shared practice and how the West London Buddhist Centre could survive financially.
What we’ve done
Our centre team worked hard and fast to create online classes and study groups. We have some wonderful teachers leading our weekly classes – Paramananda leading the Meditation Space, Yashobodhi leading the Buddhism in the City class and on Sangha Night so far we’ve had Vajradaka and Kamalashila with Paramananda and Singhashri lined up during the next two weeks.
It has taken a while for me to adjust to this new virtual way of practising together but I’ve been surprised by how effective it is to meditate together and how much depth of communication is possible. It has been lovely to see so many familiar faces attending our zoom classes and heartening to hear how many sangha members are staying connected and supporting each other.
Where we stand
Since the centre closed we have lost almost all our usual revenue streams. At present we are down 83% of our average monthly income, while still needing to pay 73% of our expenses. Our only source of income right now is donations and at present, we currently have just 42 monthly standing orders supported by a few one-off donations.
What we are doing
We have been reducing costs wherever possible, and are applying for government assistance through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This means that from Monday 13th April, all 5 members of the centre team will be on furlough in order to keep the centre running long term. If we don’t do this then our projections show we would go below the reserve limit of the charity by the end of September, and would need to close permanently by the end of the year.
By joining this scheme we hope to receive a grant to cover 80% of the centre team’s salaries while they are on furlough. Taking this step will enable us to stay afloat much longer but even with this financial support from the government we still have many costs associated with the building which leave us with a monthly shortfall of just under £8,000.
Although Ratnadeva, Sophie, Sahananda and Prajnanita and I are being furloughed, we will still be online as part of our sangha. Our regular classes will continue with some new monthly offerings – see the newsletter for more information and log-in details. The Trustees will be overseeing the centre in the meantime, and I will continue to carry out duties in my role as chair of trustees.
How you can help us survive
Many of you have told me how much the West London Buddhist Centre means to you, the difference it has made to your lives. So I am asking those of you who feel a connection to the centre and value what we offer to support us if you can. We need to get through the next few months until we can re-open the centre and make sure that it can once more be a place where our community comes together to practice, a place where we can experience inspiration and insight and joy.
I realise this is a time of great financial uncertainty and hardship for many people, but, if you are able to take out a monthly standing order or make a one-off donation, you will be investing in the centre’s long term future and helping us to survive this current crisis. Every contribution, however small, makes a difference both financially and spiritually – dana or giving is such a fundamental Buddhist practice and I am always moved and inspired by the generosity of our sangha when people give their time and energy or give in material ways.
You can also help us by coming to our online classes and letting other people know about them. Anything you do to help us support and build our sangha will make a difference. If you are in touch with people who used to come to the centre and that you think might want to reconnect now we are online, do encourage them to come along. It’s been delightful seeing some old-timers at our zoom classes and also welcoming people for the first time, some visiting from the wider Triratna sangha.
What you can do now to donate
Make an online donation, or if you are able, make a standing order so we have a monthly income that we know is coming, and we can count on.
You can donate via PayPal
Also, Bank Transfers
The Co-operative Bank
Account Name: West London Buddhist Centre
Account Number: 6532 5827
Sort code: 08-92-99
For international donations you need our IBAN:
GB27 CPBK 0892 9965 3258 27
Reference: Dana + your name (so we can thank you)
If you are a UK tax payer please add Gift Aid to your donation which adds an extra 25% to your donation from the government. Click here to hear Sahananda explain how Gift Aid works and how to add it.
Thank you so much to all of you who have already donated. I feel confident in the spiritual strength of our community and know that together we can come through the current crisis.
In the meantime I am thinking of you all with much metta,
*Just to note, during the period of furloughing, if you write to the centre or make a donation you will not get a response until the first week of May.