Lights, camera, open!

Lockdown support from RNS Chartered Accountants to a cinema business has ensured the show goes on.

Partner Alex Douglas has helped Parkway Cinemas to secure a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL), enabling the business to survive and re-open its four sites.

Directors of Parkway Cinemas Gerrard and Richard Parkes, thanks to the loan and other Government support, are optimistic about the future.

The firm runs cinemas in Cleethorpes, Louth, Beverley and Barnsley, their late father Gerald having originally run the Scunthorpe Majestic.

Alex said: “We've been working with a lot of clients, helping them access the financial support that's been made available.

“Parkway Cinemas is a high profile business, hugely important to the audiences and towns it serves.

“It's never been a more important time as an accountancy firm to support clients such as Richard, Gerrard and their family to ensure, when this comes to an end, good businesses are sustained.”

Gerrard and Richard were grateful to Alex and the RNS team for their support.

“We did wonder, with 100 staff across four sites, how we would keep the business going,” Richard said.

“It was genuinely heartbreaking to tell staff and customers that we were closing for the first time in 16 years, apart from on Christmas Days.

“Not having to pay business rates, delaying the VAT return - £60,000 in our case – and the job retention scheme to cover 80% of staff costs, have been crucial in saving the business.

“The latest loan will help cover those costs not included in the other financial packages.

“It's not ideal to be taking out an unplanned loan but these are exceptional times and we need to do all we can to protect our staff and our business.

“We'd like to thank Alex for his much-valued support and assistance in what are the most difficult of times.

“It means a lot to have a friendly, reassuring voice on the end of the phone or responding to emails.”

The business was featured in the Hollywood Reporter.

In the article, Richard said: “I'm choosing to be optimistic about the positive impact of this crisis.

“And I think shared experiences and social closeness is going to be a very big part of what we need to do to get back on track. And cinemas have always been probably the most affordable night out.

“I also think that people being at home, effectively watching everything Netflix or Disney or the rest of them has to offer, are going to be desperate to see big films properly.”

Mr Parkes knew how big an impact coronavirus would have on the business when the new James Bond film 'No Time to Die' had its Spring release date put back.

“That film is so British, so big, and it's so important to exhibition and the film industry, that once Bond was the first casualty, it sort of sharpened everyone's minds about how big this was going to be.

“The additional reassurance we've got since the CBILS money came through has meant that we've been able to adapt quickly.

“As well as upgrading our ticket booking systems and investing in the safety equipment we needed to re-open, we've also pulled together a whole new project - an outdoor cinema offer. 

“We had our first event in Hull in September with a large outdoor screen and new projector, and it was a huge success. Hopefully, it is a sign of good things to come.”

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