"Bingo is my Lifeline" Campaign Succeeds in Scotland
Bingo clubs have been hit hard during the pandemic, like many other hospitality and entertainment industries. The Bingo Association has campaigned for more help in an industry that is on the brink. In Scotland at least, the campaign has brought a real, tangible result.
“Bingo is my Lifeline” campaigns had been launched by the Bingo Association around the country to shine a spotlight on the effect of lockdowns on local bingo communities. Though nothing as of yet has come of the campaigns in South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, the Scottish campaign has brought incredible results.
Now, the Scottish Government has announced that all 47 licensed bingo clubs in Scotland will receive a one-off grant of up to £50,000 to help them survive.
While all bingo operators were eligible for the furlough scheme to take care of employee costs during lockdowns, no other direct financial support was offered for other business expenses such as maintenance and upkeep.
Aberdeenshire councillor Mark Findlater had been one of the industry’s biggest advocates in government. He wrote to the Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes asking that bingo halls be offered the same level of support that independent cinema had received.
In response to the grant announcement, Findlater said it was a “welcome about-turn after a year with little support for this industry.”
Miles Baron, the CEO of the Bingo Association, said he wanted to “thank each and every one of you who took the time to write to the Scottish Government and tell them why ‘bingo is your lifeline.'”
The Bingo Association also released an official statement on the announcement. They said:
“Bingo clubs have been particularly hard-hit by this pandemic, with the majority of clubs having been closed for ten out of the past eleven months, placing the local bingo club’s future at risk. This funding therefore provides much needed stability for the sector – helping to safeguard jobs and livelihoods across the country and allowing us to continue providing a safe space for our customers to meet and socialise with friends and family.”
Though nothing has been announced yet for England’s bingo clubs, the Bingo Association is hopeful for further announcements to be made to help struggling businesses in the rest of the country.