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‘We are being forgotten’: events firm’s bookings drop from 100 to just two

PUBLISHED: 08:26 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:26 09 October 2020

Sandie Chivers of Mason's Great Events, on her own wedding day. She is making a plea to the government for support or a change in restrictions to allow her business to recover. Pic: Sandie Chivers

Sandie Chivers of Mason's Great Events, on her own wedding day. She is making a plea to the government for support or a change in restrictions to allow her business to recover. Pic: Sandie Chivers

Archant

A boss of an events firm in Norfolk is calling on the prime minister to help after she has lost £120,000 in revenue.

Mason's Great Event Co supplies marquees and equipment for weddings and parties as well as venue styling and wedding planning. Pic: Mason's Great Event CoMason's Great Event Co supplies marquees and equipment for weddings and parties as well as venue styling and wedding planning. Pic: Mason's Great Event Co

Sandie Chivers, who runs Mason’s Great Events from West Raynham business park near Fakenham, has seen bookings drop this year to almost nothing.

Since lockdown she has had two customers, whereas usually in a year she would have 100-150.

Supplying equipment and marquees for parties and weddings as well as venue styling, she has had some bookings postponed to next year but is now starting to see those further put back until 2022. With money tied up in people’s deposits, and five years of ploughing cash into getting the business where it is, Mrs Chivers said she could not quit.

Sandie Chivers of Mason's Great Events, who is making a plea to the government for support or a change in restrictions to allow her business to recover. Pic: Sandie ChiversSandie Chivers of Mason's Great Events, who is making a plea to the government for support or a change in restrictions to allow her business to recover. Pic: Sandie Chivers

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But not being eligible for grant aid, and with no money coming in, she is at a loss as to how her firm can survive.

“Something needs to give as this industry is being forgotten about and is drastically falling behind compared to larger businesses who are able to sustain themselves better.

Vanessa Scott, of Strattons Hotel. Pic: EDPVanessa Scott, of Strattons Hotel. Pic: EDP

“If the government is not going to consider these anytime soon then financial support for the industry is vital to support the majority of small businesses panicking whether their business will survive the next six months.”

She called for the government to relax some of the Covid restrictions to allow weddings and functions to go ahead with more than 15 guests to match pubs and restaurants.

Hers is one of many businesses, particularly in the events and hospitality sector, affected by Covid and the current restrictions. Hotelier Vanessa Scott, of Strattons in Swaffham, described staying in business during coronavirus as “hanging onto a cliff edge with your fingernails”.

Supposed to be celebrating the hotel’s 30th year, instead she is glad to see bookings return – but said there was no consistency.

She said: “I was so worried in lockdown, we had to stop everything and all the deposits had to be paid back, it was gloomy. But when lockdown lifted, we had lots of bookings but as soon as there is negativity about travelling, it falters.”

She said Strattons had been given a boost after being named again in the top 10 most romantic places to stay in the Good Hotel Guide.


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