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Gloucestershire Business News

County events professionals join global day of action

Local event professionals will come together to hold a We Make Events Stand As One demonstration outside Cheltenham Town Hall this evening (30th September), where they will stand, socially distanced, for 30 minutes.

The demo is open to all event industry freelancers, full-time employees and business owners affected by the shutdown of events due to Covid-19 and is asking the government for financial support for all three of these groups.

The action is part of a global demonstration, which will feature over 20 countries coming together to raise awareness of the issues facing the sector.

The #WeMakeEvents campaign has been ramping up activity in order to highlight how the global live events industry urgently needs to get back to work. Over 30 million people in 25 countries would usually work in the events industry, but with social distancing measures in place, there is no possibility of a financially viable return for the foreseeable future.

Over the past weeks, events have happened around the world, including in the US, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Spain and UK, to raise awareness of those impacted in the event supply chain, from manufacturers, production companies, catering, transport, security and others, to the huge freelance community that works within the industry.

The majority of the industry has had no income since the beginning of the crisis in March, and with a global second wave of Covid-19 imminent, a date to return to work has become impossible to predict, leaving many companies and individuals devastated, both financially and personally.

In the UK alone, the DCMS's figures show that the cultural sector's value exceeds £100 billion, with the outdoor events industry attracting 141.5 million annual visitors.

Despite this, the sector does not receive arts grants, which means that the recent £1.57 billion bailout is not reaching the highly skilled people, manufacturers or the huge supply chain of businesses that enable the sector to operate. When this supply chain is taken into account, the number of people affected nears one million and threatens to destroy all of their livelihoods, as well as the future of live events in general.

Bryan Raven, managing director of White Light, said: "In 2019, we turned over between £3 and £4 million in the corporate events market. This year, in the same time period, we have turned over just £8,000. At the beginning of the year, we employed 260 people. It doesn't take an accountant to do the maths and realise it's not financially viable to keep a company going under such circumstances. The result is that we have already had to make 67 staff redundant and, unless the furlough scheme in the UK is extended or replaced, a further 50 roles are at risk. It's tragic to see our company go from being highly successful to this in a matter of months."

#WeMakeEvents is now calling on governments worldwide to extend significant financial support for the people and companies in the events sector supply chain until they can viably return to work.

At 8pm local time on 30th September, event professionals from thousands of cities across more than 25 countries will come together for the global day of action.

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