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Published: March 21, 2020 | Updated: March 22, 2020

Biz coronavirus update: Lighthouse, Poole; Not Just Travel and Lewis-Manning Hospice Care

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Ticket holders donating to Lighthouse during shutdown

Generous ticket holders have donated hundreds of pounds to Lighthouse since Poole’s Centre for the Arts closed its doors on Tuesday afternoon.

The closure, in response to government advice, means there will be no performances, including cinema screenings, at the venue until Tuesday April 14.

As efforts continue to reschedule dates, ticket holders to shows such as BalletBoyz and English Touring Opera’s productions of Cosi Fan Tutte and Giulio Cesare have elected to donate the price of their tickets to the venue rather than claim a refund or credit note.

Elspeth McBain, Chief Executive, pictured left, said: “Lighthouse audiences are amazing; we have been genuinely humbled by people’s goodwill as we respond to this unprecedented situation.

“Most of our income comes from ticket sales and the money our audiences spend when they come to Lighthouse.

“Without shows there are no audiences so as work continues to reschedule lost performances, we are truly grateful for their generosity.”

Most ticket holders are being contacted by email and early figures suggest about 20 per cent are opting to donate some or all of the price of their ticket to Lighthouse.

But of those contacted by phone, more than £500 has been donated in less than two days.

Elspeth said: “In troubled times it’s a natural response to turn to the creative arts and although we must all lead quite different lives for the time being, I look forward to the time when we can welcome our audiences back to Lighthouse – what a happy day that will be.”

Lighthouse ticket office staff that have been phoning ticket holders have been moved to tears by some of the responses they have received.

Steve Lambert, Ticket Sales Manager, said: “People have been incredibly understanding and it’s fair to say some of the team have found it quite emotional.

“Although we often hear how much our audiences enjoy the shows they come to see it’s very rare to be told how much Lighthouse itself means to people and how big a part of their lives it is.

“These are difficult days for all of us, but the good wishes and true kindness of our customers are making a tough time much easier to work through.”

  • Ticket holders do not need to contact Lighthouse, all will be contacted in due course by the venue. Staff are responding to queries during office hours, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, but Lighthouse phone lines will remain closed until further notice.

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Not for Travel boss: ‘We’ve ridden out crises before’

Steve Witt, Co-founder of Dorset-based travel franchise group Not Just Travel has predicted the sector will bounce back from the current crisis.

The industry giant has more than 600 homeworking travel consultants on its books.

Steve, pictured left with Co-founder Paul Harrison, said: “Not Just Travel set up our business the day before 9/11 – that was a time when consumer confidence and travel literally dropped off the planet.

“We’ve ridden out crises before and are here today with our multi-million pound travel company.

“For many years we’ve experienced the rollercoaster that is the travel industry and know that the ride is a rewarding one.

“We’ve ridden through the Ebola crisis, SARS, the collapse of Thomas Cook and now Flybe. However, people will always want a holiday.

“At the moment, we are focused on helping our customers and giving them the best advice and support we can, and we are working round the clock to help our family of travel consultants and customers. That’s our priority.

“Some cruise and holiday companies are offering flexible cancelations, flexible booking dates for 2021 and refunds should their holidays need to be changed.

“One thing to say is that sales are still strong.

“We have had bookings for 2021 and we believe that once coronavirus has peaked and is contained, we will see a spike in people booking holidays again.

“Currently everyone is waiting to see what happens, which is completely understandable.”

Steve has made a video that answers the top six questions customers are asking right now. See https://youtu.be/KieUXGwtpmk

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Spring Clean to Help the Hospice

Lewis-Manning Hospice Care is asking people to spring clean their homes and donate any hidden gems to its charity shops.

The Poole-based charity say people could make a real difference while businesses, schools, educational centres and entertainment places are closed and some people are self-isolating.

It is urging anyone to combat the boredom at home, get the kids involved and make it a fun task to have a spring sort out and donate good quality, preloved items to the nearest Lewis-Manning Hospice Care charity shop.

Addresses for the shops can be found on its website by visiting https://lewis-manning.co.uk/shops/.

Anyone with large furniture items for collection can call 01202 760574 to arrange a safe and convenient time.

Clare Gallie, Chief Executive Officer, pictured left, said, “We’re inviting you all to help us by spring cleaning your homes, garages and outbuildings and find us high quality items you now longer need that we can sell in our hospice shops across the county.

“I’m hoping this will have a positive impact on our community by challenging individuals and families to take on this practical task that will help our charity greatly, but will also give young ones and parents something to do during these uncertain times.

“This is such a positive way to help our charity hospice, which will enable us to support more local people with life limiting illness in the community.”

The charity says it has great concerns about the effect of isolation and loneliness on its patients.

It is putting in place plans to make regular contact with those at risk offering daily and weekly contact via the telephone, Skype, FaceTime and other social platforms.

In addition Lewis-Manning Hospice Care will help with visits at home and has also offered help and support to NHS colleagues.

Clare said: ” With the potential increase in demand for our services and the concerns about how we will recoup from a significant drop in fundraising events and donations, now is the time to support our charity.

“Now, more than ever, we need your help to make the difference.”