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Since Monday Week 1 Furness College Bar Trevor has been closed during the day as it is not taking enough money to warrant being kept open. The communal bar space is still available to use, but the bar now only opens from 4pm.
However, Beverley Whitaker, Administrator for Furness College, said that if enough students complain about the bar closing then it may be possible to re-open it. She said that ultimately it is the number of bar sales that determine its fate and students and staff would have to up their level of purchases to ensure the bar was kept open. A Facebook page has since been set up called ‘Save Trev Bar’. The college have said “We have spoken to Bev and she said that with enough support they will seriously consider re-opening the bar. So give it a like and see what happens.”
SCAN spoke to Dr. Włodek Tych, Furness College Principal who said that the College Bars “are an integral part of the student life and experience and of College identity” but that if the bar isn’t serving students regularly then “the bar staff are just sat there in a mostly ornamental role”. He also commented that he believes the situation to be temporary due to the refurbishment of the library, which has led many students to use the bar’s social space (which remains open) heavily for work purposes during the day and therefore fewer staff and students use it for social purposes before 4 o’clock. Therefore the daytime closure of the bar is likely to be limited to the period of time whilst the library refurbishment is ongoing, however this needs to be consulted with the JCR who have the power to influence such decisions. Tych said that it will be worrying if the bar retail part continues to remain closed during the day after the need for study space has abated following the full reopening of the library.
Furness JCR President, Polly McDonnell also commented that the closure would be a great shame as the bar provides a hub for Furness College and is a great bar with a brilliant atmosphere. She also stated that “the closure will hopefully not be implemented for too long, as it will make a lot of fellow Furness members very disappointed” and that the JCR are communicating with the bar staff team in order to make sure that Trevor is able to open during the day again before too long.
Tych also suggested that the JCR and Catering could possibly investigate alternative models of running the college bars, as he had observed the college bars in Durham which are solely run by the JCRs and are not allowed to make net income, which greatly decreases the prices of drinks, yet the bars seemed to be run very well in spite of this. Tych suggests (although perhaps not entirely seriously) that “a fact-finding mission to the East Coast” may be a possibility that should be considered by the JCRs.
SCAN would like to reiterate that the matter being reported is the closure of the bar during the day, not the communal bar space, and currently there are no discussions for any further closures to be implemented. It is possible that the closure will be temporary and limited to the period of the library refurbishment but that has not yet been decided.