General News

The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Coachella Cancelled - The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have been cancelled this year. Both events were meant to have taken place in California in April, and had been rescheduled for October. But health officials have said they are "not comfortable moving forward" - especially given how Coachella is one of the world's biggest music festivals, bringing half a million fans to an open-air site east of Los Angeles.
Cameron Kaiser, who signed the order cancelling the festivals for 2020, said: "I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward." Kaiser stressed that the decision was not taken lightly - and he acknowledged many people will be affected. "My first priority is the health of the community," he added.
Fringe Benefits - The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has been given a special funding package from the Scottish Government to help the festival survive its cancellation this year. A £1m interest-free loan has been granted to the Fringe Society, which is the charity that oversees the annual performance festival. It will also receive £249,000 in grants from the City of Edinburgh Council (£100,000) and the Scottish government’s relief fund for businesses deemed vital to the country’s economy (£149,000).
This year’s fringe, along with all of Edinburgh’s summer festivals, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time the event has not taken place since it was founded more than 70

le-markLe Mark releases protective vinyl screen
Thursday, 11 June 2020

UK - Le Mark has released a rolling screen suitable for protection against sneeze and cough particles suitable for enclosed spaces, such as rehearsal studios.
Originally designed for hairdressers and beauty salons that require a simple, clear screen that could be regularly sanitised yet remain as unrestrictive as possible, the vinyl screen has lockable castor wheels and a metal frame and measures 122.5cm wide by 188.5cm high. (4ft x 6ft 2). It is available for purchase online.

 
 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Arts Sector Exposed - A cut in public funding has left the arts sector more exposed to the threat of COVID-19, new figures suggest. The latest Arts Index, published annually, showed public investment in arts per head of the population fell by 35% in the last decade. However, earned income by arts organisations from things like box office ticket sales increased by 47%.
The Arts Index is published by The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA), and acts as a snapshot report of the health of England's arts and culture. It is published in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation and King's College London and compares year-on-year figures using 20 key indicators.
The latest index, published on Monday, puts the recent figures in the context of the last decade, which saw a UK recession prompt a shift in the income streams for arts organisations.
After the 2008 financial crash, the arts sector witnessed a significant drop in public funding, business support and philanthropic giving. The chair of the NCA, Samuel West, said: "Arts organisations rose to the challenge following the financial crash; we salute them for increasing earned income in response to a triple whammy of cuts to public funding, business sponsorship and philanthropic giving.
"It's bitterly ironic that the arts sector's resourceful response to the 2008 financial crash is now the very thing that makes it vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis, with theatres closed and income from tickets and bars dropping off a cliff."
Providence Pays - Sky News reports that

 
theo-roodViral Armour Sanitiser available at DWR
Tuesday, 9 June 2020

South Africa - Due to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa all events and large gatherings have been put on hold. As a result, Theo Rood from MJ Event Gear is taking on extra work as a forklift driver and warehouse manager for Viral Armour Sanitiser based in Johannesburg. Viral Armour Sanitiser is also now also available for purchase at DWR Distribution.
“I was very fortunate as a good friend of mine owns Mad Giant Brewery, the makers of my favourite craft beer,” Theo explains. “I have been a fan of their product for a few years.” With a ban on alcohol sales in South Africa - which was only lifted at the start of June - the Mad Giant Brewery has ingeniously been converted into a sanitiser manufacturing plant. Not long after, Theo was offered a job to keep himself busy during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, DWR Distribution is now, thanks to Theo, also selling Viral Armour Sanitiser. “In a time where people are adapting to continue to employ their staff, we have to commend Mad Giant Brewery,” comments Duncan Riley of DWR. “I realised that Viral Armour Sanitiser was a well-priced product and that it was something that we could offer to churches, schools, theatres and businesses or for personal use. Discount will be given on bulk orders and clients can expect the same level of service - with a smile - from our team, whether they are purchasing sanitiser or equipment. We look forward to hearing from you.”

 
 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Blackout Tuesday - The music industry is calling for a ‘Blackout Tuesday’ in response to George Floyd's death. Major record labels have shared a message on social media promising "a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community". Employees have been given Tuesday off as "a day of action", intended to "provoke accountability and change". Interscope vowed not to release new music this week, while Apple Music's Ebro Darden cancelled his radio shows.
"We stand together with the black community against all forms of racism, bigotry, and violence," said Columbia Records, which is home to Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Lil Nas X, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Adele. "Now, more than ever, we must use our voices to speak up and challenge the injustices all around us."
"In the words of Dr King, 'There comes a time when silence is betrayal.' When you have a responsibility to raise your voice for change. That time has come," added Universal Music Group on social media.
Universal's chairman, Sir Lucian Grainge, also issued a memo to staff laying out plans for a task force, headed by chief counsel Jeff Harleston, to "accelerate our efforts in areas such as inclusion and social justice".
The British record industry's trade body, the BPI, also confirmed it would participate in the ‘Blackout Tuesday’. "Like many of our members, we will suspend normal business tomorrow," it said in a statement. "Our staff will share in this moment to reflect on the recent tragic events, stand in solidarity with all those who suffer discrimination and enco

 
ethan-headshot-squareLD launches Artistic Finance podcast
Tuesday, 2 June 2020

USA - A theatre lighting designer has launched a podcast to explore what it takes to financially sustain a career in the arts.
The Artistic Finance podcast is the brainchild of New York City-based LD and producer Ethan Steimel, who speaks to workers in the entertainment field on how they deal with their personal finances, addressing questions such as why some practitioners do well whilst others never break through to financial security.
“Our first interview is with Tony-award winning theatrical lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski,” says Steimel. “We learn how he came from Buffalo, New York all the way to Broadway. His career has spanned more than 40 years, and we learn what his finances looked like through it all.”
Steimel is a theatrical lighting designer from Saint Charles, Missouri, who moved to New York City in 2013. He has designed lighting for Masters of Illusion--Live! (US/Canada tour), La Boheme (El Paso Opera), Boys From Syracuse, (Theatre Row), Julius Caesar (Trinity Shakespeare), The Graduate (Forestburgh Playhouse).
New episodes of Artistic Finance are published every Monday and are available from all popular podcasting apps.

 
 
airtameExertis ProAV appointed Airtame distributor
Thursday, 28 May 2020

Australia - Exertis ProAV Australia has announced that it has been appointed to distribute the Airtame wireless screen sharing and collaboration platform in Australia and New Zealand.
“Airtame’s wireless screen sharing and Digital Signage platform creates a better environment for learning, sharing and creating together,” Exertis ProAV Australia president & CEO Kevin Kelly says. “The addition of Airtame to our portfolio of offerings means that resellers will have an innovative new communications and collaboration solution to offer their business and education customers.
“Airtame has helped more than 20,000 businesses and schools across the world cut the cables, unlock collaboration and use screens better and our team of sales professionals is going to help many more schools and enterprises do the same.”
Alongside its wireless screen sharing solution - which help schools and businesses increase productivity and engagement in meetings and classrooms - Airtame recently launched Airtame Cloud, which provides customers with one unified platform to remotely manage and monitor their Airtame devices, along with a range of digital signage features.
According to Thomas Ibsen Nielsen, head of sales at Airtame, “We are excited to partner with Exertis ProAV Australia to bring the benefits of Airtame to a large market of corporate and education customers throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Exertis team’s track record of providing their partners with outstanding sales, support and training is going to help us achieve our business dev

 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Royal Patronage - The Prince of Wales has raised concerns about how orchestras and theatres will survive the coronavirus crisis. He said it was important to “find a way of keeping these orchestras and other arts bodies going”. The prince, who is patron of dozens of arts institutions, noted they were of “enormous importance” to the economy. “It's absolutely crucial that they can come back twice as enthusiastic as before,” he said in an interview with Classic FM.
The heads of the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Southbank Centre have all warned they are facing financial collapse without additional government assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Royal Opera House, of which Prince Charles is a patron, says it has seen 60% of house income fall away since the start of the crisis. “They're in terrible difficulties, of course, because how are they going to be able to restart?” said the prince. “It is a very expensive art form, but it is crucial because it has such a worldwide impact... and so we have to find a way to make sure these marvellous people and organisations are going to survive through all this.”
“I was completely inspired by that... Which is why it's so important, I think, for grandparents and other relations to take children at about the age of seven to experience some form of the arts in performance.”
Southbank Warning - The UK’s largest arts and cultural organisation, the Southbank Centre, has warned that it will have used up its financial reserves by September, forcing its clo

 
 
robe-peachy-productions-guildford-cathedral-03-photo-by-steve-parsons-pa-mediaPeachy Productions delivers food and light
Friday, 22 May 2020

UK - Philip French of UK technical production company Peachy Productions has just relocated to Wiltshire after being based in Guildford, Surrey for eight years.
But during the coronavirus crisis, he is making the journey back twice a week to volunteer for the Surrey Drive Campaign.
This is a locally-based crowd-funded initiative that delivers around 2,500 cooked meals - with locally sourced ingredients - each week for hardworking staff at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust hospital.
The Surrey Drive Campaign includes some of Surrey’s live event experts. After seeing heart-breaking stories of exhausted NHS workers finishing their arduous frontline shifts and being unable to buy food at this critical time, Steve Page and Hannah Sheppard thought it was time to step up.
Having furloughed all his staff while the UK continues in a largely restricted lockdown scenario with no live shows and events, Philip volunteered for some Surrey Drive driving / delivery slots and has been part of this operation ever since.
One day whilst dropping off meals at the Surrey Royal he was gazing at the city’s famous cathedral opposite and thought it would be amazing if it were lit up at night to show support for everyone! He thought that this could tie in with the nationwide Clap for Carers action every Thursday evening.
“Worldwide people are sending messages of goodwill and support using the medium of light to everyone battling and dealing with the pandemic,” he commented, “and I thought that this could also happen in Guildford.”
He ap

 
music-supportThe BRIT Trust backs Music Support
Friday, 22 May 2020

UK - Record industry charity the BRIT Trust has announced a donation of £30,000 to Music Support, the peer-led music industry charity that provides confidential mental health and addiction services.
The funding will help Music Support at a critical time when many people in the artist and music industry community are in urgent need of its help. It will also go towards Music Support’s ambition of giving 10,000 people access to Thrive, the NHS-approved mental health app.
Matt Thomas, chair of trustees of Music Support, comments: “We are hugely grateful to The BRIT Trust, the BPI and the recorded music sector for their valued support when we are seeing a sharp rise in the number of vulnerable industry peers coming to us for help. Technology has provided a lifeline to many during the of COVID-19 emergency, and this timely funding will enable us to give thousands of people access to the Thrive app so that we can support their well-being and mental health.”
John Craig, chairman The BRIT Trust, adds: “The music ‘family’ can always be relied on to come together to help those in times of great need. The BRIT Trust was primarily founded to promote education and well-being through music, but it also recognises the vital importance of supporting mental health - in particular during this exceptionally challenging time for the artist and music creator community.
“We've supported this great charity since its inception and have a long relationship with Music Support’ and their innovative Thrive app helps to do just that.”

 
 
unusualUnusual backs Mental Health Awareness Week
Friday, 22 May 2020

UK - During Mental Health Awareness Week, Unusual Rigging is urging its industry counterparts to consider what mental health in the workplace will look like in a COVID-adapted world.
As the entertainment industry has been knocked sideways by the global crisis, Tom Harper, managing director at Unusual Rigging believes the time is right to tackle the growing problem of work-related mental health problems head-on and to nip it in the bud rather than simply putting a sticky plaster on it.
MD Tom Harper comments: “If ever there was a time for it to be OK to not be OK, it’s now. With the world as we know it turned on its head, those who can put their hands up and say they’re ‘absolutely fine’ are, without doubt superhuman. With lives and livelihoods lost or at least put on hold, this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is really shining the light on the problem – but also on the solution. What can we do to look after our own mental health, but also ensuring the wellbeing of our friends, family and colleagues?"
He continues: “Our business revolves around theatre, museums, live events, sporting events - all of which have been closed until further notice, postponed or cancelled. A number of our staff have been put on furlough while we navigate this tricky period. But they’re still our colleagues and friends and so we embrace the amazing technology that wouldn’t have been accessible a decade or two ago.
“WhatsApp and Microsoft Team meetings are vital to help employees that are on furlough stay in touch with others. We’re also mak

 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Global Warning - Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has called for urgent funding to avoid going out of business due to the "devastating" impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The London venue has been shut since 20 March and has warned MPs it is "critically vulnerable and at risk of closure in the wake of COVID-19". It said it would need at least £5m to get back up and running.
It was ineligible for Arts Council England's relief and said it had been "left without any emergency support". In evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, the theatre said: "Without emergency funding and the continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent. This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal."
Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the committee, said in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that it would be a "tragedy" if the theatre was to close. "Shakespeare's Globe is a world-renowned institution and not only part of our national identity, but a leading example of the major contribution the arts make to our economy," he wrote.
The Globe does not get annual funding from Arts Council England (ACE), meaning it can't access ACE's main £90m emergency relief fund.
From A Distance - American Idol's 18th winner, Just Sam, celebrated alone on Sunday after taking part in the finale under lockdown in Los Angeles. Samantha Diaz from Harlem, New York, was told she'd won the public vote by host Ryan Seacrest, who was broadcasting from

 
 
gregJeffreys to lead AVIXA’s standards committee
Monday, 18 May 2020

UK - AVIXA has elected Visual Displays founder and displays consultant, Greg Jeffreys, as new chair for its Standards Steering Committee, which advises the main board on issues relating to industry standards.
The Committee will provide recommendations for standards development within the context of AVIXA’s strategic plan, and approve completed standards before they are sent for American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ratification and subsequent publication.
As one of the committee’s founder members, Jeffreys had written the previously published projection best practice paper, in conjunction with international consultants, experts and dnp’s R&D team in Denmark. As a result, the PISCR (Projected Image System Contrast Ratio) standard was amongst the first task groups out of the blocks. He then assumed InfoComm leadership roles in preparation for becoming president in 2012, while continuing to lead the DISCAS (image size) standard group and undertaking other standards writing activities.
Greg reports: “When our first standards were published, we innocently assumed a grateful AV world would beat a path to our door and adopt them enthusiastically. The reality sadly did not match the expectation. At this point the InfoComm/AVIXA leadership stepped in. After producing articles, seminars and creating CTS courses I’m pleased to say the tide has turned and we’re now in a mature phase whereby impactful developments will affect the entire AV ecosystem.”
The refreshed 2020 Standards Committee had been due to meet at AVIXA’s Virgini

 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Glyndebourne Cancels - All remaining Glyndebourne Festival 2020 performances have been cancelled. This follows the earlier cancellation of Festival performances up to 14 July, as announced. Following Government advice, the Glyndebourne site remains closed.
Executive chairman Gus Christie states: “We maintained our optimism for as long as possible. Glyndebourne is a relatively small charity but with big ambitions, driven by the belief that opera can transform lives. The Festival receives no public subsidy and our financial independence means that we are reliant on ticket sales to be able to operate. With this source of income now gone, it’s not just our future that’s at risk – the immediate livelihood of over 400 seasonal staff and artists has vanished. We have started a COVID-19 Emergency Appeal to help us to help them, and to secure Glyndebourne’s long-term future for all.
“To help keep the spirit of Glyndebourne alive during the closure, please join us every Sunday from 24 May as Glyndebourne Open House brings world-class opera to you at home. Tune in on YouTube every week for free access to classic Glyndebourne productions and, together, let’s create a taste of the Festival experience.”
Under The Hammer - The guitar used by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's famous MTV Unplugged in New York concert is going under the hammer, with a starting estimate of $1m (£810,000). The 1959 Martin D-18E featured in the band's performance in November 1993, five months before his death at the age of 27.
The guitar is the headline item for

 
 
carolyn-steyn-feed-our-crewCarolyn Steyn helps Feed our Crew
Thursday, 7 May 2020

South Africa - Carolyn Steyn, South African philanthropist, actress, founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and Classic FM1027 radio host personality, has donated R100,000 (around £4,400) to the Feed Our Crew initiative established to help theatre and entertainment crew and freelancers who most need assistance.
As an accomplished actress, Carolyn was concerned about the welfare of the theatre crew, especially after the lock-down in South Africa was extended. The entertainment business has been one of the hardest hit industries in the country. When Carolyn saw a Facebook post by one of her friends, Debra Batzofin, theatre practitioner in the industry for the past 46 years, it ultimately enabled her to pay it forward.
“Carolyn immediately assisted me, and we were able to feed 50 people,” explains Debra Batzofin. “But when she wanted to donate additional funds, I suggested we approached Duncan Riley of DWR Distribution and the SOS Charity fund to help come up with the best solution.”
Riley advised the monies would make an enormous difference to the Feed our Crew campaign. “Everyone is fighting a financial battle right now, but there are those who are unable to feed their families, and this is where Feed our Crew comes in,” comments Riley. “I was humbled by this act of generosity and believe that if there were more people like Carolyn and Debbie, the world’s problems would be so much less. Thank you so much for this contribution.”
Feed O

 
The Week in light & Sound
Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Missouri Breaks - Missouri is the first US state to resume live events. The latest measure was included in Gov. Mike Parson’s Show Me Strong recovery plan, which also outlines how the state’s economy will begin reopening this week, Billboard reports. Large events and gatherings are no longer forbidden; residents will be able to attend concerts and go to movie theatres and stadiums, where “seating shall be spaced out according to social distancing requirements”.
A Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services rep explained that concerts don’t have to follow the same capacity guidance as retail businesses. Still, concertgoers must remain at least six feet from each other. “There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken and six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and/or families,” the Show Me Strong recovery plan states.
These new measures don’t apply to the state’s bigger cities, St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City, where lockdown orders are still ongoing. “We will continue to be guided by data, not dates,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tweeted on Friday.
Venues in smaller cities, like The Blue Note in Columbia, will also not reopen on Monday. The venue has chosen to continue livestreaming its Social Distraction concert series through May 15.
“We are currently assessing the details of the announcement and the latest information from health experts,” Matt Gerding of FPC Live, which manages The Blue Note, told Bill

 
 
lemarktapeLe Mark Group introduces Social Distancing range
Thursday, 30 April 2020

UK - Le Mark Group has switched its production focus from its well-known Road Case and Cable Label labels to a new range of tapes and heavy-duty floor stickers aimed at helping shops and places of work adjust to new social distancing requirements brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From hazard tapes reminding people to keep a safe 2m distance apart, to floor stickers directing people where to stand and wait whilst shopping, the full range can be found online HERE.
Meanwhile, the popular Dirty Rigger line has been reconfigured and is now producing PPE equipment including PVC face masks and aprons. 
MD Stuart Gibbons comments: "We wanted to be able to support the NHS and care workers as much as possible. We've added the new items to our Gaffertape.com website and have continued to produce to meet commercial demand."
He continues: "With 80% of our team furloughed or with managers working remotely, the company has a skeleton team working to maintain production. We are also able to support dealers in Spain and Germany that need translated versions of the social distancing range. In times we have to be prepared to be supportive to as many people as we can. We will keep going, we are all fighting hard to survive and be flexible. Le Mark will be there at the end of the coronavirus."

 
12stepMusic Support hosts 12-step support groups online
Thursday, 30 April 2020

UK - Music Support has launched weekly online support group meetings to allow the music industry’s 12 Step recovery community to continue to connect during the Covid-19 lockdown. Meetings will take place every Monday 18:00-19:00 GMT from 27 April to 28 September 2020.
Available to any music industry peers throughout the summer, Music Support will provide a confidential and non-judgemental space for people to share and encourage one another on the journey of recovery.
Music Support Services Officer, Joanne Croxford, states: “It might be that someone is in need of a secure virtual space to share their experiences, while others may want to take part in these meetings simply by listening in and feeling accepted and connected during isolation. Music Support will offer strength and hope as we all navigate our way through these testing times.”
Music Support Managing Director, Eric Mtungwazi, adds: “The 12 Step Support Group Meetings have been a key part of our work backstage at festivals during the typical summer season. This year, as we’re unable to offer this service in-person due to the Covid-19 lockdown - which has resulted in the cancellation of festivals across the UK - we’re delighted to be able to offer support online and keep this community connected.”
To receive personalised login instructions, please email: helpline@musicsupport.org with the subject ‘12 Step Support Group Meetings’. All data remains confidential.

 
 
ft-tvDoughty makes headlines at FT-TV with Projects Department
Thursday, 30 April 2020

UK - When Projects Department Ltd won the contract to create two live studios and two breaking news spots for the Financial Times TV studio in London, Doughty Engineering was quickly brought on board to supply a range of broadcast kit.
Peter Daffarn, managing director, Projects Department Ltd explains: "The client briefed us to create the studios and news spots for presenting live news bulletins at short notice and for occasional use and, with Doughty being our go-to company for hoists and grids, we knew they'd be fundamental to the project from the start."
Building a bulletin studio meant that Projects Department Ltd had a smaller than usual space to work with, therefore the design and build needed to be imaginative. The studios were required to be integrated into a working office space and, with a number of high-profile guests visiting, the client wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. The lack of height in the studios was a major factor as Daffarn explains: "Due to limited space, Doughty's Dan Phillips and I spent time creating a grid that was both aesthetically pleasing and functionally slimline. Dan has been central to the reason I work a lot with Doughty. I often share early design thoughts with him and we bounce ideas between us as no two studios are ever the same. Once we are on site installing, I know I could call Dan on a Sunday and he would try his best to help."
Doughty and Projects Department Ltd designed and installed the ‘Flat Grid’ which was first used at the Tate Modern and was essential to the clean look

 
The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Eurovision Again - In the absence of this year's Eurovision Song Contest, cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, fans are reliving old competitions every Saturday night. Eurovision Again - watched in sync at 8pm British time on YouTube - connects fans across Europe online and has been the top UK trend on Twitter every time it's been on.
"It brings a sense of togetherness and let's me be with all of my friends every Saturday," 20-year-old Nana-Ama Ewusi-Emmim told BBC Radio. "It's something to look forward to."
Twitter says there have been 100,000 tweets about the fan-organised watch-a-long, which trends higher than shows like Britain's Got Talent - broadcast at the same time on TV. The most recent contest chosen was 1997, which was the last time the UK won with Katrina and The Waves - who also joined in with Eurovision Again online. Around 200m viewers watch Eurovision each year and it's become a huge hit for younger audiences with nearly half of all under 24-year-olds in Europe - who were watching TV - seeing 2019's final.
The Band on Film - Take That have confirmed a film version of their new musical The Band is in the works. Gary Barlow confirmed on ITV's Lorraine that a movie based on their musical will start shooting later this year. The script is being written by Tim Firth and it will be shooting next year. Tim also wrote The Band musical, which opened in September 2017 went on an extensive two year UK tour and ran in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
The project is currently

 
 
rishisunak-tnCOVID-19: Small firms to get 100% state-backed loans
Tuesday, 28 April 2020

UK - In a bid to iron out inconsistencies in the financial help offered to the UK’s smallest businesses, chancellor Rishi Sunk has introduced 100% taxpayer-backed loans for small firms.
The Bounce Back Loans scheme, launching on 4 May, is a response to the slow take-up of emergency bank lending during the COVID-19 crisis, which has meant businesses could fold before getting loans.
The scheme will require filling in a two-page self-certification form online and will unlock loans of up to £50,000 “within days of applying”.
The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
To be eligible, a business:
- must be based in the UK
- must have been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis
- was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
Loan terms will be up to six years, with no repayments due during the first 12 months.
The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
Businesses cannot apply if they are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), but it’s possible to transfer a CBILS loan into the Bounce Back Loan scheme until 4 November.

 
pasmaPASMA launches resource library
Monday, 27 April 2020

UK - PASMA’s new Safety Practitioner Zone and its partnerships with the Association for Project Safety, British Safety Council, IIRSM and RoSPA aim to help workers stay safe on scaffold towers.
From 1 May 2020, members of these associations get access to a library of PASMA resources for updating their tower knowledge and sharing good practice. The library includes toolbox talks, tower reference guides, bitesize safety videos and details of upcoming changes to EN 1004, the design standard for mobile access towers.
In the lead-up to launch, PASMA is celebrating by releasing a series of Toolbox Talks on social media, freely available to anyone who wants them. These one-page documents contain the content needed to deliver a safety briefing on five tower-related topics, reinforcing key messages that are taught on PASMA training courses: Monday: Never stand on an unprotected platform; Tuesday: Using scaffold towers in windy conditions; Wednesday: How to safely move a mobile access tower; Thursday: No instruction manual means no scaffold tower, and Friday: Inspecting scaffold towers.
A new Toolbox Talk will be released at 11am each day this week (on PASMA’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Each one will be available for only 24 hours. After the time is up, the series, along other material, will be available in the Safety Practitioner Zone.
Jason Carlton, head of strategic engagement at PASMA, states, "We’re delighted to have partnered with leading safety associations on this initiative becau

 
 
be-scene-be-heard-200x300-1BTS launches peer-to-peer chat app
Friday, 24 April 2020

USA - The Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative has launched Be Scene - Be Heard, an anonymous, peer-to-peer chat app for backstage staff.
“It’s often hard to talk with family and friends about how you’re feeling and what may be troubling you, but you may not feel quite ready to see a mental health professional,” says the charity. “Sometimes it’s easier to talk to people who don’t know you, but who can relate because they’re in this industry too. They get the crazy hours, the pressures of getting the show on every night or the right shot on set, and the void felt when the gig is over.
That’s why Behind the Scenes has partnered with iRel8 to launch Be Scene – Be Heard. A platform to interact with your peers, talk about what’s on your mind, find comfort and knowledge from one another, and, perhaps, offer insight to someone who is going through something you already have. Chats are instantly translatable into 54 languages. Be Scene – Be Heard is available “wherever you are, whenever you need it, for whatever is on your mind”.
“Signing up for the app requires an email address and costs $0.99 a month and can be done here: btshelp.org/chat.
Users will find a “room” for general conversation and one for industry resources. As participation grows, sub-groups will be formed for more focussed discussion on topics such as, but not limited to anxiety and depression, sta

 
Vectorworks wins business recycling award
Thursday, 23 April 2020

USA - In conjunction with Earth Day 2020, global design and BIM software provider, Vectorworks celebrated its latest award. The Howard County Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services, Recycling Division selected Vectorworks as the winner of the 2020 Business Recycling and Waste Reduction Award. This accolade recognises local businesses for their recycling and waste reduction efforts during the 2019 calendar year.
The winning submission, Greenworks, is an environmentally-based project presented at the company’s regular innovation discussions and focuses on methods to create a sustainable work environment. Employees from various teams and departments collaborated on the project that went into full effect a few months later. The project outlined implementing proper traditional recycling techniques and adding a new system to include recycling plastic bags and film packaging, which ultimately becomes Trex decking. Additionally, other initiatives involved purchasing utensils instead of plastic cutlery and replacing water bottles with a water filtering system.
“One might expect an innovation project from a global design software company to be a technology-focused project; however, we chose to focus on sustainable ways to improve our environment,” said Janet Coppage, operations coordinator at Vectorworks and one of the employees behind the Greenworks project.
“Not only are we pleased to see this initiative have a significant impact on our nearly 200 employees at our Columbia headquarters, but we also see this as an oppor

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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