Hospitality & Tourism

Published: October 18, 2019 | Updated: October 18, 2019

BH Live – which manages eight Dorset venues including the BIC – goes £456,000 into the red

The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), one of 18 venues managed by BH Live.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

BH Live, which manages 17 venues across Dorset, Hampshire and London including the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), went into the red by £456,000 in its last financial year.

The charitable social enterprise and leisure and event venue operator recorded a pre-tax loss of £456,411 in the year to March 31, 2019.

That compares with a pre-tax profit of £319,816 in the previous 12 months.

Turnover fell by 4.5 per cent to £30,866m (2018: £32,324m).

The trustees attributed the loss-making performance to several factors including:

  • a cyclically low year in conferences and exhibitions
  • increasing costs, including energy
  • last year’s hot summer which impacted on pay as you go leisure income
  • closure of facilities for essential maintenance and investment

BH Live derived £26,132m of its income from charitable activities, £4,727m from trading activities and £5,847m from investments in 2018/19.

Its wholly owned trading subsidiary, BH Live (Enterprises) Ltd, manages the non-charitable activities, mainly conferences and exhibitions.

It recorded a profit of £164,314 which was gift-aided to BH Live, a registered charity.

The BIC welcomed 52,500 delegates and guests to Bournemouth during the year with a £32.4m direct economic benefit to the local economy, generating more than 86,000 delegate bed nights.

BH Live hosted approximately 443 cultural events across its portfolio of facilities with more than 623,000 attendances.

It continued to offer a cultural subsidy for use of its venues to local community groups as well as support for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) by providing use of the Bournemouth Pavilion.

The economic impact to the local market in Bournemouth of the cultural and arts events is calculated to be £4.56m for the BIC and £4.98m for the Pavilion.

According to the annual accounts, which were filed with Companies House on October 14, BH Live employed 571 full-time equivalent staff in the 12 months to March 31.

Total cost of employee benefits for the four most senior staff was £543,257 (2018: £432,024). The trustees, chaired by Michael Wright, receive no remuneration.

Accountancy firm Mazars was paid £29,250 as auditor’s remuneration and a further £6,491 for non-audit costs.

Apart from the BIC and Pavilion, other BH Live venues in Dorset include the Littledown Centre; Pelhams Park Leisure Centre; Sir David English Sports Centre; Stokewood Leisure Centre and BH Live Active, Queens Park – all in Bournemouth – and BH Live Active in Corfe Mullen.

Further afield, BH Live venues include the Fairfields Hall, Croydon; London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre.

In April Peter Gunn retired after nine years as Chief Executive. He was replaced by Chris Symons, formerly Director of Development at GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited).