A Year of Lockdowns - August 2020 - textSectionComponent

August was a heartbreaker with redundancies looming. Our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns continues.

In general

The #WeMakeEvents campaign held the ‘Red Alert – throw us a line’ day of Action on 11th August 2020 across the UK.

Job Retention Scheme rules change around the NI and Pension Contribution burden for employers. For those working in the events sectors this was a killer blow – with little to nothing coming in the additional expense forced decisions nobody wanted to make.

Things continue to improve on the business front with volume increasing to 33% of normal. Still nowhere near where we needed it to be to cover our costs.

View from the top

Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group

August is a sickener as we finally have to face the reality of redundancies and we are losing some great people, several of whom have been with us for many years. Then, towards the end of the month our friends at the PSA tip us that the Arts Council are prepared to support companies across the wider event spectrum not just arts organisations. Again, we cobble a team together, amongst which, I am clearly the dimmest. My colleagues tell me that this is the most difficult thing any of them have ever undertaken, including their degrees so you can imagine what it’s like for me. It might as well be written in Russian! Nevertheless, the application goes in with minutes to spare.

On the front line

Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West

There is a small sense of encouragement that things might be on their way back to normal as we begin work back at the Principality stadium. This time to help bring the stadium back to its intended purpose after being turned into a Nightingale Hospital. We start on the top levels of the stadium, in the boxes and V.I.P areas that had been turned into cubicles. It’s still a scary time as there are still clear worries from myself and the crew about being able to socially distance whilst working. Although we are happy to be working there is still a sense that the disease is very much still with us and we must not let our guard down and risk ourselves, our colleagues and our family’s health.

Scott Young – Senior Crew Chief – Scotland

More work to kill the boredom!

My flat has never look so good!

Dave Gregory – Senior Crew Chief – London

Things in August for me got very busy! I was getting put on more TV and Film work in in Pinewood, Elstree and Bovingdon. This was a great boost seeing boys on site again and working. The only thing I had to get use to was wearing new PPE – the dreaded face masks.

Mark Visser – Crew Chief – London

18th August 17:30 Yard, 20:00 12 hrs Ricoh Arena, Sunbelt Rentals.

My first shift in 23 weeks and it is a 12 hour overnight with a 2-hour drive to the shift and then again on the return. We finished half an hour early, stop for breakfast and coffee, then headed back to Acton. It was great to see familiar faces again and get back to doing what we are the best at doing; and keeping our clients happy.

One other 5-hour shift is all the work that I do in August.

2 Shifts for 17 hours for the month!

Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London

Generally, more rest and recovery. Gyms were reopening which was a relief and felt great to get back to training. Picked up the occasional shift with Gallowglass when offered work.

What happened in BD

Antony Cook – Head of Business Development

A tough month within the company as we had to make some redundancies, bringing home the stark reality of the impact on our industry of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back to the laundrette and boy what fun, it’s like EastEnders but for real! I started off by sitting there with my headphones on just surreptitiously listening to the 2 ladies who run the place, Marjorie & Alice, nattering away and found out about the murder in the basement, fights over dryers, cups of tea, biscuits, & the fact the upstairs had been a knocking shop run by associates of the Krays. More to follow…

What happened in HR

Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources

A truly terrible month as we have had to make some people redundant.  Gallowglass is a family and some of those we had to lose had been with us for years.  There is no joy in being in HR when you say goodbye to colleagues who have been amazing and loyal and are now more friends than colleagues.  They are all fabulous so have every confidence that even in this market they will find new places.  The good news is that H & S in the Middle East are seeing a lessening of restrictions and work coming in.  Hopefully this is moving in the right direction and the UK will follow soon. We have applied for a Cultural Recovery Fund Grant – it was a lot of writing and not the easiest system but fingers crossed as this would make a real difference and allow us some breathing space.  At last, a government initiative that can help the industry as a whole.

What happened in IT

Darren Thorley – Head of IT

The changes to the furlough scheme meant that there had to be redundancies. This was heart-breaking for everyone involved. We are a close-knit team and most of us have worked together for years. Everything was done to try and avoid it, but in the end, there was no choice.

I continued to monitor and tweak our Azure setup to get optimal performance as well as turning things off whenever they were not going to be needed to keep costs down.

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Conor Hourihan

Business Development Manager, Gallowglass Group Posted on 06 Apr 2021
About the author
A Music Production graduate, Conor has spent the last 12 years in customer service roles. Joining Gallowglass initially as a Crewman, his talent for gaining clients' trust and forming lasting relationships, made him a shoo-in for our business development and marketing team. When he's not liaising with clients, Conor is our visuals expert - overseeing video content and imagery for our website, app and new vehicle and uniform branding.
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