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Attraction support scheme pays out less than 10% of £3.5m funding pot

Attraction support scheme pays out less than 10% of £3.5m funding pot

Thursday 13 May 2021

Attraction support scheme pays out less than 10% of £3.5m funding pot


A Government scheme designed to protect the island’s covid-hit visitor attractions and events businesses has paid out just £340,000 out of a funding pot of £3.5m.

So far, 13 businesses have received payments under the Visitor Attraction and Events (VAES) scheme.

It was launched in January to provide qualifying businesses with a subsidy of up to 80% of their designated fixed costs incurred over the winter period, from October 2020 to the end of April 2021.

The scheme's initial criteria was criticised for being too stringent, with information obtained by Express under the Freedom of Information Law revealing that only two businesses made a claim for a total of £15,156.45 as a result.

Weekender_2018-2.jpg

Pictured: The Weekender was the only event to receive a VAES payment.

In mid-March, the criteria for the scheme, which boasted a funding pot of £3.5m, was relaxed but claims made prior to that date were processed in line with the original ones. 

According to the new requirements, businesses needed to have an annual turnover of more than £150,000, rather than £300,000. The requirement to be registered for GST was also removed, bringing the VAES in line with other Government support schemes.

According to figures released by Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel, following a question from Deputy Mike Higgins, 13 businesses have been able to claim under the scheme, receiving a total of £341,715.15 between them. 

Payments range between £2,142.98 to AGF Limited and £70,190.40 for travel company CI Travel Group.

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Pictured: CI Travel Group received more than £70,000. 

Local coach tour companies Tantivy Blue Coach Tours, Waverley Coaches and Jersey Bus Tours received more than £87,000 between them.

Local clubs Rojo’s and Havana claimed around £15,000 and £30,000 respectively, while Mulcaster Street-based bar Tanguys received just over £11,000. 

Meanwhile, Waterfront-based gaming zone Arcadia received nearly £30,000 and Jersey Pearl a total of just over £31,000.

The organisers of local music festival Weekender, the only event on the list, received a payment of more than £18,000, while marquee provider, Marquee Solutions, received nearly £19,000.

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Pictured: Rojos was among the clubs to receive a payment.

St. Brelade’s College, which provides English courses for international students, received around £19,000.

The complete list of VAES payments...

AGF Limited – £2,142.98

Arcadia Leisure Ltd – £29,816.45

CI Travel Group - £70,190.40

Jersey Bus Tours - £16,977.88

Jersey Pearl Ltd - £31,365.37

Jersey Weekender Limited - £18,222.27

Marquee Solutions - £18,705.12

Sajern Ltd (Rojo’s) - £15,021.13

Small Shores Entertainment Ltd (Havana) - £29,669.78

St. Brelade’s College - £19,068.26

Tanguys Bar - £11,167.52

Tantivy Blue Coach Tours Ltd - £47,923.02

Waverley Coaches - £22,548.10

The Treasury Minister also released a list of ‘ad-hoc’ payments made to local organisations.

This included £1.1m to Jersey Heritage, which looks after six visitor sites in Jersey, paid out in November as a result of the charity experiencing a 90% drop in visitor numbers at its sites and the loan of up to £10m granted to Blue Islands Limited to help the island maintain its connections to UK regional airports.

Meanwhile, Liberty Bus received just over £1m between May and December.

It was revealed last year that the bus company’s revenue had dropped to what were described as "negligible" levels when lockdown began in late March.

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Pictured: Liberty Bus received just over £1million between May and December.

Following discussions with government, who agreed to provide nearly £400,000 of funding, the company agreed to continuing to provide a service, although it was no longer making any profit.

A further payment of £622,000 was made on Christmas Eve. 

Deputy Pinel also confirmed that 73 payments had been issued between July and September 2020 under the Fisheries Support scheme, for a total of £252,600.

Local nurseries - Charlie Farley’s Too Limited, Cheeky Monkeys at Durrell, Busy Bees, La Petite Ecole, Centre Point Nursery, Centrepoint Trust, Acrewood Day Nursery, Charlie Farleys Nursery, Leeward Day Nursery and Beaulieu Primary School - also received a total of £82,000 in hardship grants after their doors remained open for the children of key workers during lockdown. 

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Pictured: Local nurseries received a total of £82,000 in hardship grants.

The grants, which ranged between £5,000 and £14,000, were made through the Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES) department out of the Nursery Education Fund.

£80,000 was granted to Beaulieu Convent School to increase the bursary fund to support families whose income had dropped as a result of covid to secure “continuity of education and friendship for pupils during the pandemic”. 

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