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Bury's civic suites made £500,000 loss in last financial year
THE borough’s civic suites are earning more cash than they used to — but there is still a lot of improvement to be done.
That is the conclusion of a report discussed by Bury Council’s Cabinet at a public meeting at Elms Community Centre in Whitefield last week.
Town hall bosses have long been concerned about the four venues in Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Bury, as they have cost the taxpayer £1.8 million to run since April, 2010.
They commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers to carry out an independent review last year to see how they could stop losing cash.
In response, authority chiefs drew up an action plan and the latest report looks at how successful it has been.
In the 12 months up to the end of March, the venues earned £1,062,000 — the highest takings in six years.
But the venues — the Elizabethan Suite, Bury; the Longfield Suite, Prestwich; and Radcliffe and Ramsbottom civic halls — still made a £524,000 loss.
The report said: “Full implementation of the action plan and the effect it will have is a gradual process and will need continually updating to match trends and customer demand.
“Nevertheless, despite the poor economy, the actions already taken are showing results with the best performing year for six years.”
To increase income, venue bosses have launched new wedding and celebration packages, which has led to an increase in event bookings.
The venues now advertise on social network web-sites and sell tickets online.
Staff have built up a mailing list of 15,000 people and are trying to vary activ-ities at the venues.
The report added: “Integration with our leisure partners has introduced a range of events from burlesque to boot camps, tai chi and zumba, active dance, boxercise and circuit training. The number of bookings has increased by four per cent to 3,586, which is also reflected in improved daily usage.”
Managers are trying to reduce overheads and are holding regular meetings throughout the year.
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