THE owner of a Whitchurch music venue says he is 'humbled' by the response from the community following the launch of a fundraiser to save the business.

Percy's Café Bar, located in Watergate, is a small bar and music venue that has operated in the town since 2015.

Since opening the bar has offered a stage for grass-roots music in Whitchurch but the venue was forced to close in March with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although many other pubs in Whitchurch have reopening with Covid-19 precautions, the small nature of Percy's means reopening with social-distancing in place is unfeasible.

Throughout the pandemic Percy's owner Mark Dawson has used the building as a base for his antiques business, but a lack of government arts funding means the future of the venue is in doubt.

"We started the venue five years ago because of our love for live music and since then we have supported and attracted bands and artists locally, nationally and internationally who share our passion for originality, talent and expression," said Mark.

"Together we have built an iconic venue, musical community and family but this is now under threat.

"Covid-19 has forced us to close our doors and cancel more than 150 bands booked for this year alone.

"We have received no Government support or Cultural Recovery Funding.

"The Cultural Recovery Funding was for those in immediate danger of closing. We weren't in immediate danger but at that point no one was in immediate danger.

"That failed so I applied for a projects grant but you have to get permission to apply.

"The goal was to form a coffee shop/museum/music venue, something quite interesting but they turned that down."

With these issues in mind a fundraiser was launched for upkeep to the venue which raised more than £1,000 in the first day.

Many of the donations have come from patrons of the bar but also bands who have performed there and Mark says he is overwhelmed with how much the appeal has 'snowballed'.

"I'm humbled by people's response, we have no help from the government for the foreseeable future," added Mark.

"The support we have received is better than the donations. You almost have to go on because people want you to.

"We've had the bassist from Dragon Force involved and someone from Hawkwind shared the post.

"It's really snowballed and we're humbled by the support."

To contribute to the fundraiser, visit