Published: March 26, 2020 | Updated: March 26, 2020

Biz coronavirus update: Lighthouse, Poole; Bournemouth & Poole College and Evolve

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Lighthouse extends closure in line with current Covid-19 advice 

Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is to extend its temporary closure until the end of May instead of the originally planned April 14.

The decision is in line with the latest advice on stopping the spread of Covid-19 that all venues should close and people should remain in their homes.

All performances due to take place during this period are either cancelled or postponed.

Ticket holders are entitled to retain their ticket for a rescheduled date or, in the case of cancellation, will be offered a refund or credit note.

As reported on Dorset Biz News, staff have been left in tears at the reaction of many ticket holders to choose to donate the cost of their tickets.

In a statement, the centre said: “Arts organisations are the beating heart of their communities and Lighthouse is no exception.

“For more than 40 years this is where the people of Poole and the wider community have gathered together to share cultural experiences, it’s where lives are enriched and memories made. And so it will be again.

“Just for now though we must all lead slightly different lives, but we look forward to welcoming our audiences, artists and all users of our building back to Lighthouse very soon. ”


Bournemouth & Poole College provides free parking to NHS staff

Bournemouth & Poole College has opened the car park of its North Road site for free parking for NHS staff while working at the nearby Poole Hospital.

Diane Grannell, Principal of Bournemouth & Poole College, said: “In response to the current COVID-19 situation, both sites of the college are closed to students and staff and we have moved all learning to online.

“We therefore made the easy decision to support NHS staff by providing free parking at our North Road site during this difficult time, to help them continue to do a phenomenal job in caring for our local community.”

The college closed its sites to students on Wednesday March 18, and began its virtual teaching on Monday March 23.

All students are now studying remotely and taking part in virtual lessons given by staff.

Diane, pictured right, added: “The health and safety of our students, staff and the wider Bournemouth and Poole community is our number one priority.

“We are proud to have been able to take further steps to support the delivery of essential NHS services.”

  • The Littledown Centre car park opposite Bournemouth Hospital is now available for free all day use by NHS staff until the end of April.

Sited within easy walking distance for hospital workers, the new parking measures give all NHS staff free 24-hour access to the Littledown car park.

It follows talks between BCP Council, BH Live and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals.

Working together, the organisations aim to ensure that NHS staff can get to work on time, reduce reliance on public transport and be more flexible in their working schedule.

This will support them in the delivery of essential front-line services.


Evolve offer free support to business community

Evolve is offering members a free, 15-minute, remote one-to-one session with its founder Warren Munson during the coronavirus crisis.

The Poole-based venture was originally set up to develop and grow a strong business community.

Since its launch early last year, it has created a loyal network of like-minded individuals who gain knowledge and support through Evolve’s peer groups, events and online content.

Warren, pictured left, said Covid-19 was placing unprecedented strain on businesses and their owners and Evolve wants to help ease that pressure.

He added: “This is a difficult time for everyone.

“But what really helps is getting another perspective and having fellow business leaders to talk to.

“Our goal with these one-to-one calls is to engender a strong support network and strengthen the business community.

“During this period, we all need assistance in one way or another, whether it be business advice, sharing a contact or simply a friend to talk to.

“Evolve is pleased to offer this service to all its members.”

Evolve has also launched an open and dedicated ‘Covid-19 Resource Centre’ on its website, to provide relevant content and inspiration to the public during this time.

Membership to Evolve is free.

Sign up at