Uni try to raise the bar

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The recently-refurbished Bowland Bar. Photo by Meher Gupta

Student staff in Cartmel Bar have seen their hours cut in an attempt to make campus bars more financially sustainable.

The University’s new Head of Commercial Services, Jo Hardman, has revealed that “on some nights the bar was paying more student staff wages than was being taken in sales.”

He added that Cartmel “have a full-time member of staff who [is] capable of dealing with this level of trade.”

The changes to staff hours in Cartmel is just one of the noticeable developments in the activity of campus bars since Hardman started work at the University.

The bars’ ‘Summer of Fun’ campaign has seen significant promotional activity and drink offers across campus. Despite this push, the bars are set for lower profits than last year, which Hardman said “was already a poor performance.”

Furthermore, whilst the bars will report a small surplus on operations, it has been acknowledged that the costs of operations does not include the cost of heating, lighting, water, new furniture, refurbishment or administration. Hardman says “if this were to be included then the position would be a significant loss.”

Whilst he concedes the “bars are not solely about profit,” the Head of Commercial Services stated a concern that the nine campus bars combined “are not as busy as a single successful bar in town.”

In an interview with SCAN published on Monday 12th March 2012, the University’s Director of Facilities, Mark Swindlehurst, raised concerns about the bars’ performances.

Swindlehurst stated that “if the students don’t want the bars anymore then they need to face the reality of them closing.”

His comments were related to the fact that 70% of Intro Week 2011 activities organised by JCR Executives took place off campus.

Olly Trumble, Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) Vice President (Events and Democracy) has been working with the JCR Executives on their plans for Intro Week 2012. Whilst the colleges are yet to announce their specific and detailed plans, Trumble revealed that the Intro Week organisers had all met with Hardman to discuss bar prices and other details.

Whilst discussions focussed on various different aspects of college life Trumble said “Intro Week appeared heavily in discussion and the hope is that this will be a positive step forward.”

Hardman admitted that “extensive meetings with parties involved to make the bars financially sustainable” are ongoing. He stated that the University “are looking at improving what we currently do to make them more attractive places for students to meet, eat, drunk and socialise.”

Summarising, he wants to “demonstrate that there’s a need for all the bars to remain open as a range of living spaces that make Lancaster unique.”

 

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