We’re Going Cashless

Statement from Managing Director, Dave Jenkins

Re: Cashless

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns that have been raised as a result of the announcement that the venues will be going cashless this month.  I also wanted to reassure everyone that we have not taken the decision lightly – and most importantly without adequate consultation.

 

Speaking from personal experience, I’m one of those people who historically would not have been comfortable going out for a night out without having a specific amount of cash in my pocket for an enjoyable night out and getting home safely. So, when we had internal and external discussions on the matter, I made sure that everyone was aware of this way of thinking and any barriers that can be put up for a number of reasons when cash is excluded from a venue.

 

To illustrate the reasons why this was a consideration to discuss with our Executive Board is quite simple – cash is very expensive to manage:

  • In a pre-pandemic year we would spend somewhere in the region of £72,000 to manage cash. This is made up of staff time, security fees and bank fees.
  • Before the Pandemic our average cash sales percentage was 68% in favour of cash. Whilst the cost was still expensive, it was deemed a necessary cost to a majority cash income offer.
  • Since we reopened the doors to the venues in Autumn 2021 we have seen a significant shift in the use of cash and it now accounts for only 4% of sales – which makes it unviable to justify this cost going forward.

 

In addition, it is also worth noting that we are also experiencing the most significant series of inflationary increases across the board from our food and drink suppliers to our energy bills and general overheads in maintaining large venues. In terms of managing these increased costs we have very little option but to pass the inflationary increases onto the general public. However, making significant savings like this allow us to absorb some of the inflation and reduce price increases. We strongly believe that this route minimises financial barriers being worsened.

 

As a non-profit organisation we are accountable to all of you and the assets that we are custodians of belong to the community – I hope that it is understood and that our main aim is to secure the long-term viability of these assets. Whilst we understand that this change isn’t ideal, it comes from a robust assessment of what is genuinely in the best interests of the Art Centre – in what is still an extremely challenging time across the sector.

As we consulted, we spoke to several different groups and individuals with a variety of lived experiences and tried to ensure that the offer was still as inclusive as possible. The best option we arrived at was the gift card system. This system will work by allowing the purchase of a £5, £10 or £20 Gift card which can then be used multiple times and re-topped up as desired. If a visitor has a balance on a card that they need to release back into cash we will also have a petty cash available during office hours so that anyone can take change off should they wish not to continue using the card.

 

This will allow us to take cash at point of sale but without the staff time and fees associated to managing change. The feedback from our consultees was that this would not create a barrier for them and catered for everyone whilst making a significant saving on costs.

 

We can’t get it right all the time, but I do hope that this reassures you that this decision, like everything we decide, is coming from a good place and is designed to benefit arts, culture and our community.

 

Finally, if there is anyone who feels directly affected with the change and solution and feels they would like to discuss it further, myself or one of my colleagues would be more than happy to have further conversations and see what we can do to help. Email info@theoldcourts.com

 

Many thanks

Dave Jenkins

Managing Director

 

 

 

 

 

From Tuesday 1st March 2022 we are joining a long list of businesses by only accepting card payments across all our venues. This means we will no longer accept cash payments at our Box Office or any of our bars, restaurants, and cafes.

We understand this may be an inconvenience for some, however, we haven’t taken the decision lightly. We reached this decision with careful consideration and based on years of discussions, research, statistics, and the measures we had to put in place during the pandemic to minimise the risk to staff and audience.

Why are we going cashless?

• To help us reduce the cost of handling cash in both fees and staff time.
• We prefer not to keep cash onsite, minimising the security risk to our staff and building.
• We have invested time, money, technology, equipment, and resources in moving towards a cashless venue to help minimise health, safety, and hygiene risks during and post pandemic.
• There has been huge decrease in cash payments over the last few years, and COVID and the pandemic has brought our decision to go cashless, forward.
• We are moving towards a cashless society and so will be joining a long list of places only accepting card payments.

The time and money it takes, and costs for us to handle cash, we feel would be better spent on our community focused and artistic work.

Exceptions: When we can accept cash:

There will be some occasions (few and far between) when we can accept cash payments, including:

1. Our aim is to ensure we remain as inclusive as possible and especially during the transition to becoming a cashless venue. So therefore, we will have gift vouchers available (to buy online via our partner Quaytickets and) onsite from via our bar and onsite box office. These vouchers can be purchased via card or cash in £5, £10, and £20 denominations which will allow anyone who doesn’t have access to card payments to continue to use small amounts of cash.

2. Otherwise, we would only resort to accepting cash payments if our systems (technology and equipment) go down and the card machines are out of order.

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