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Savoy_Penzance

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5. CASE STUDY 1: THE SAVOY CINEMA, PENZANCE


5.1 Overview of cinema
The Savoy cinema is the only cinema in Penzance, which is a small coastal
town in West Cornwall with a population of about 17,0001. It is one of a
chain of five cinemas run by the Merlin group: four cinemas in West Cornwall
(Penzance, Redruth, St Ives and Helston) and one in Torquay, Devon. The
Savoy offers a predominantly first-run mainstream programme, with most
major releases secured on date. It is a three-screen cinema with 273 seats,
purpose-built in 1912 and claims to be the longest continuous running
cinema in England (a claim also made by another case study cinema - the
Curzon in Clevedon!) The Savoy sells more than 90,000 tickets a year. The
Merlin group has little cinema competition in West Cornwall, and the Savoy's
nearest non-Merlin cinema is a 50 minute drive away in Truro. The Savoy
differs from the other case study cinemas in that it has an on-site restaurant,
take-away pizza and ice-cream kiosk, all of which are available to non-
cinema goers. As such, it has a larger more diverse group of staff than some
of the other cinemas in the study, employing four regular full-time staff, and
16 regular part-time staff. It is also unique in the study in that its audience
profile varies considerably with the time of year, due to a seasonal influx of
visiting tourists during the summer months.



5.2 The Social, Cultural and Environmental Impact of the Savoy Cinema


5.2.1 Who visits the cinema?


Clearly, one of the main groups of people on whom the cinema has a direct
impact is the Savoy audience. The cinema sells about 90,000 tickets a year.


The Savoy offers a predominantly first run mainstream programme, designed
to appeal to both the local Cornwall-based audience, and the summer
tourists.


Families are an important part of the Savoy audience, and a high proportion
of the films at the Savoy are screened to appeal to this sector of the
population. As well as the main releases, there is also a bargain price show
almost every week of recent popular family films. Analysis of the cinema's
annual programme reveals that, according to bfi film classifications, a third

1
 based on Census estimates of the 4 wards: Penzance Central, Penzance East, Penzance Promenade,
Penzance South
                                                                            2


of the annual screenings were of films designed to appeal to families, and
48% were of films with certificate PG or U.


The vast majority (93%) of the Savoy screenings are of mainstream films.
However, outside the school holidays, there are three or four weekly
screenings on a Sunday and Monday of a specialist "arts" film. These films
are selected by the Penwith Film Society, and each film tends to attract about
100-150 people per week. The Society has about 200 members, most of
whom are Penzance residents, and over forty.            The Society has many
members of retirement age.

Table 5.2.1 Analysis of Savoy programme 2002 - 2003
                                      % of screenings


Specialised films                             7
Mainstream films                              93


English language                              99
Foreign language                              1


Certificate
U                                             17
PG                                            31
12                                            13
12A                                           17
15                                            19
18                                            4




The Savoy audience is described by the cinema management as 'slightly arty'
and 'family-driven', reflecting these two strands of programming. Audience
surveys conducted at the cinema in the past have indicated that a high
proportion of the audience is made up of family groups - parents with young
children. However, as a whole, the Savoy audience is older than the average
UK cinema audience. In particular, 16-24 year olds - usually a key group of
mainstream cinema visitors - are under-represented in the Savoy audience,
and this is thought to be due largely to the local Penwith population profile
which, as shown in Table 5.2.2, is notable for its age profile: 28% of local
residents are aged 60 or older (higher than the national figure of 21%), and
while 32% of the population in England and Wales are aged under 25, this
age group accounts for only 26% of Penwith residents. The area also has a
relatively low student population (5% of 16-74 year olds compared with 7%
                                                                            3


nationally), partly because of the trend for young people to move away from
the area to attend college or universities. There is a small further education
college in Penzance, but the nearest higher education colleges and
universities are in Camborne, Falmouth, Truro, Plymouth and Exeter.


The Penwith population is also notable for the fact that there are very few
residents from ethnic minority groups (compared to 9% in England and Wales
as a whole), and this is reflected in the profile of the Savoy audience.


The catchment area for the Savoy is the Penwith district, stretching from
Lands End to Hayle, although the majority of cinema visitors come from the
immediate local area. According to past audience surveys conducted at the
Savoy, about two-thirds of the audience live within walking distance of the
cinema, and half visit the cinema after walking past and seeing the adverts of
what films are showing. The proportion of very local residents is smaller in
the summer, partly because the audience numbers swell with the influx of
tourists, and partly because during the summer, some of the regular local
audience choose to stay away from the busy Penzance town centre.

Table 5.2.2 Demographics of local Penwith population
(Source: Census 2001)
                                               Penwith


                                                  %


Male                                             48
Female                                           52


Under 16                                         18
16-24                                             8
25-29                                             5
30-59                                            42
60-74                                            17
75 and over                                      11



White                                           98.9
Mixed                                            0.6
Asian or Asian British                           0.2
Black or Black British                           0.1
Chinese or other ethnic group                    0.2
                                                                                          4




Employed or self-employed2                              54
Unemployed                                              4
Students                                                5
Retired                                                 18
Looking after home / family                             8
Permanently sick or disabled                            8
Other economically inactive                             3




As well as offering a programme which caters well for families and children,
the Savoy has good links with local schools, and regularly holds special
screenings on request for school pupils at the end of the Christmas and
Summer terms. About 20 such screenings are organised every year, usually
for local primary school, with an average attendance of 80 children at each.


An annual screening is also held for Penwith College students.                    And the
Savoy has also put on occasional special screenings for local hospital
patients.


As well as film screenings, the cinema is sometimes used by local groups for
meetings and conferences. The Savoy advertises itself as a hireable venue,
but this is a small scale venture for the cinema. It cannot compete effectively
with other local venues, such as the Queens Hotel banqueting facilities; and
while there is some interest expressed by community groups, it is not usually
financially or practically viable to accommodate them, due to the required
timing of the events and the cinema's financial need to stick to its screening
schedule.


In addition to the film-watching cinema visitors, the Savoy attracts customers
to its first floor bar and restaurant, and the street front pizza and ice-cream
outlets. The bar and restaurant clientele are largely made up of members
cinema audience, although the restaurant is used every year for the local
bank's Christmas party. However, a wider group of passers-by visit the pizza
and ice-cream outlets.




2
 The base for the Census 2001 economic status profile is the resident population aged 16 to
74
                                                                             5


5.2.2 What impact is the cinema having on its visitors, and the wider
community?


In the previous section, we described the type of people that visit the Savoy.
In this section, we explore the type of impact that the Savoy has on its
visitors, and the local community as a whole. This section draws on views
expressed by regular audience members, the cinema's suppliers and
representatives from the local press and tourist office.



5.2.2.1 Access to film, and increased film knowledge


Local access to a cinema
As the only cinema in Penzance, local residents see the Savoy as an
important local resource, enabling them to see films without having to travel
further afield. The nearest alternative cinemas are the three other Cornwall
Merlin cinemas in St Ives (about 7 miles away), Helston (14 miles) and
Redruth (18 miles). The nearest non-Merlin cinema is the Plaza in Truro (26
miles away, and about a 40 minute drive).


The fact that the Savoy was centrally located, and within easy walking
distance for Penzance residents, was very important to the audience, and as
mentioned earlier, past surveys have indicated that two-thirds of the
audience walk to the cinema.


Public transport to and from Penzance was regarded as poor (particularly in
the evening), so the Savoy was providing a valuable service to residents
without cars, who would be unable to access cinemas in other towns.


While on the whole, the central location of the cinema on a pedestrianised
thoroughfare was seen as positive, there were some aspects of the precise
location that were identified as possible problems for the cinema. Firstly, the
lack of good public transport to outlying villages, and the distance of the
cinema from Penzance bus or train station, meant that rural residents
without cars were under-represented in the Savoy audience.


Secondly, in the past, there has been a problem with rough sleepers and
drinkers congregating at the southern end of Causewayhead, the street on
which the cinema is located. Recent CCTV installation and active policing has
improved the situation, but not entirely removed it. While most of the Savoy
visitors that took part in the study felt safe when visiting the cinema, it was
                                                                            6


acknowledged that some potential audience might find the area a little
intimidating and stay away as a result.


It was also suggested that the newly regenerated harbour area in Penzance
with its new shops and restaurants might be drawing the people away from
the Causewayhead part of the town. The cinema (despite repeated requests
to the Council by the management) was not clearly signposted from other
parts of Penzance. However, to date the harbour development had not had
an obvious downward impact on ticket sales; in fact, some saw the harbour
regeneration as potentially bringing more people to Penzance, and therefore
possibly more people to the Savoy.




Local access to a varied programme of films
The Savoy is seen as offering access to a very good programme of films,
covering both mainstream and specialised films.        A number of regular
audience members were interviewed, and all were impressed at both the
number and the range of films on offer every week.       This was felt to be
unusual for a small cinema in a small town.


The fact that the Savoy showed most mainstream films on the date of their
national release, and sometimes as previews, was warmly welcomed. And
the weekly screenings of independent films were recognised as an unusual
benefit in a small town cinema.


      "It's a much better range of films than you would expect for a town of
      this size"

      "The programming is surprisingly diverse: I have the opportunity to
      see films here that I might have expected to have to go to London for"

                                                        Regular Savoy visitors


The link between the cinema and the Film Society was highly valued. Society
members felt very fortunate that they were able to select their own films, and
then view them in a "real cinema", unlike their counterparts in most other
film societies who had to meet in church halls and other community
buildings. Another benefit of the arrangement was that the Savoy took all
the financial risk involved in screening the films - the Society were not
charged for the hire of each film, or the hire of the cinema itself. The Savoy
                                                                             7


treated the screenings as part of its main programme, taking both financial
risk and profits.


Some non-Film Society members that were interviewed, although not always
attracted by the type of films on offer, nevertheless recognised the Savoy's
link with the Society as very positive, and offering good access to films for
"the serious film-goers in the area":

         "It's a tribute to the Savoy that they have come to that sort of
         arrangement with the Film Society - multiplexes wouldn't offer that
         kind of service"



Access to film for particular sectors of the local population
As described earlier, the Savoy plans its main programme to cater to family
audiences, both local families and those visiting the area in the summer. The
matinee screenings of family films at weekends (particularly the bargain price
screenings, at which a £1.99 ticket covered admission, a small carton of
popcorn and a drink) also make the cinema very attractive to families with
young children.


Keeping ticket prices low was a way of ensuring that films were accessible to
as many local residents as possible. This was particularly important in an
area like Penwith, which has a high proportion of pensioners, and according
to ODPM statistics, is one of the 50 most deprived areas in England and
Wales.


The standard ticket price was £5, and reduced admission of £3.50 was
offered to old age pensioners and children. In addition to this, the Savoy
offered a reduced ticket price of £3 to adults at one or two selected
screenings every week, as well as the £1.99 weekly bargain show at the
weekend. The cinema also offers three types of "Movie and Meal Deals", for
combined trips to the cinema and the upstairs restaurant.


In interviews with regular Savoy visitors, the standard ticket prices were seen
as reasonable, and the bargain shows and Movie and Meal Deals were seen
as very good value, enabling people to visit the cinema for whom price might
otherwise be an obstacle.


Another group of local residents that are well catered for by the Savoy's
weekly Penwith Film Society screenings are the film enthusiasts, and those
                                                                                 8


interested in visual arts.      There is a strong visual arts culture in West
Cornwall, boosted in recent years by the opening of the Tate Gallery at St
Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum.               The Penwith Film Society
screenings are sometimes selected directly to appeal to those interested in
art: screenings of 'Pollock' and 'Goya' attracted particularly large local
audiences.



Access to film for people with disabilities
Each screen at the Savoy is wheelchair friendly, and there are ramps at the
front of the cinema. However, there is currently no wheelchair access to the
restaurant - providing a lift to the first floor would cost £30,000 and the
cinema management feels that this expenditure would be hard to justify for a
business of this size.     There are no facilities in the cinema for induction
loops or subtitling. The Merlin group is in the process of adapting some of
its other cinemas for disabled users.     The Regal cinema in Redruth is the
most accessible.



Opportunity to see films in a "traditional" local cinema setting
Another valuable service that the Savoy was felt to be providing was the
opportunity to see films in an "intimate" local cinema setting, rather than a
large impersonal out-of-town cinema.          The friendly atmosphere of the
cinema was mentioned in all the interviews with regular Savoy visitors. The
following quotes are typical:


       "It's a charming little cinema with a personal touch"

       "It's a very friendly place - the staff are friendly, and we often meet
       people we know there"

       "It's part of our social life"
                                                          Regular Savoy visitors




5.2.2.2 Contribution to the sense of place / Focus for pride in the local area


Participants in the study were asked what sort of wider role the cinema
played in the local area, and its place in the image of the local area.
                                                                                   9


The Savoy was seen by members of the audience, and by the local press, as a
key Penzance venue. There were not felt to be many evening entertainment
options in Penzance - apart from bars, restaurants and nightclubs, the only
other real Penzance venues were the Acorn Theatre, which staged fringe
theatre and community shows, and the Ritz Bingo hall.


Savoy visitors shared the view that a small town like Penzance was "lucky" to
have a cinema that showed such a variety of films every week. This was felt
to be unusual for such a small town.


In 2002, the magazine Cornwall Today ran a feature about the history of the
"much-loved" Savoy:      its opening in 1912, its claim to be the longest
continually open cinema in the country, its various changes of ownership and
fortune, and its recent refurbishment.


The cinema had been saved from almost certain closure in the early nineties
by the current owner, Geoff Greaves, who had bought the cinema in 1990
and embarked on a five-year programme of improvements. By transforming
it into a three-screen cinema, and incorporating a bar, restaurant and take-
away units, he successfully turned the failing single-screen cinema into a
financially viable operation.


During the renovations, Geoff received a considerable amount of local
support for his efforts, and Cornwall Today described him as a "knight in
shining armour". And in our interviews with Savoy visitors, it was clear that
the cinema engendered feelings of loyalty from them. Most cinema-goers
were aware that the cinema had been open in Penzance since 1912, and
many had been attending the cinema regularly for years, and reported seeing
queues outside the cinema for some of the big blockbuster films.              The
following quotes illustrate their views of the cinema as an important resource
for the community that should be supported, and a reason for remaining in
Penzance.


       "It's an essential amenity for Penzance"

       "If it were to close, there would be an outcry... it would be a disaster"

       "I sometimes go out of a sense of duty: if you don't support it, you
       may lose it"

       "I would move back to London if it closed"
                                                                               10


                                                            Regular Savoy visitors



However, there was also a feeling that neither the Savoy itself, nor the town
council, did enough to market the cinema as a unique, historically important
part of the town.


The cinema does feature as one of 20 sites of historical interest on the local
authority's "Penzance Trail", and is marked as such by a plaque on the front
of the building.     However, the Savoy does not feature very prominently in
other tourist materials for the area, or in the regeneration plans for
Penzance.    For example, it is noticeable that on the www.penzance.co.uk
website, promoted by Penzance Chamber of Commerce, the only reference to
the cinema is a simple listing under 'entertainment venues'; and in the write-
up of Penwith arts and culture, there are references to a number of
Penzance-based film-makers and production companies, but no mention of
the cinema itself.    In the 2001 Penzance Harbour and Town Regeneration
Phase 1 Action Plan, the cinema is not included under 'Visitor attractions', or
as part of the 'creative and cultural industries sector'.


While the Savoy is not promoted by the Council as part of its tourism
strategy, the local Penzance tourist office actively promotes the cinema to
visitors, particularly when the weather is poor. It is felt to be one of the only
Penzance venues available to visitors, particularly families, on rainy days.


Several of the Savoy's regular audience members commented that, although
the local Cornishman newspaper carried basic cinema listings and some film
reviews, the cinema itself rarely receives additional press coverage. This was
confirmed in an interview with a representative from The Cornishman, who
felt that beyond weekly advertisements of the film programme, the cinema
was not very proactive in getting press coverage for its events.


The cinema's marketing strategy was limited to placing small adverts in local
papers, and the distribution of weekly programmes to between 50 and 100
local sites, including pubs, tourist information offices, shops, hotels and
caravan parks. The Savoy tended to rely on the fact that the mainstream
films were already heavily advertised in national campaigns funded by the
distributors.


Some Savoy visitors felt that this was a missed opportunity, and in particular,
the cinema's history could be exploited much more. Although there was a
                                                                               11


plaque on the wall of the foyer about the 1912 opening of the cinema, and
its claim to be the longest continually open cinema in the country, several
commented that the cinema could capitalise much more on the cinema's
historical importance.   It should be seen as a selling point, both for the
cinema and the town.


       "It doesn't promote its historical links. There's no real sense of the
       cinema having any personality beyond the films themselves"
                                                            Regular Savoy visitor


This was seen as a shame, as it was also recognised that a lot of effort had
been made to refurbish both the interior and exterior of the cinema, and
trying to retain the original atmosphere of the building which still has much
of its original cornice work and some decorative panels.


Although cinema-goers appreciated this renovation and the comfortable new
seating, and thought that the screen and sound quality were reasonable, the
cinema was still regarded by some as "a bit tatty", with floors that needed
cleaning, a congested and uncomfortable foyer, and toilets that were
described as "a bit grim". The occasional "amateurish" projection (e.g. films
starting late, or technical problems with the sound) was also mentioned by
several people. It was suggested that these aspects of the cinema did not
help to promote an impression of the Savoy as an important building or
venue in Penzance.


Another selling point for the cinema was its potential as a meeting place for
local residents, with its central location, attractive frontage and an interesting
bar, filled with movie memorabilia, overlooking a pedestrian street.
However, again, people felt that this aspect of the Savoy was not promoted
effectively enough, and the bar only tended to be used by cinema-goers.
                                                                                           12


5.3 The Impact of the Savoy Cinema on the Local Economy


5.3.1 Overview of income and expenditure
As the following table shows, the Savoy cinema receives just over half its
annual income (54%) from ticket sales, and 42% from the sale of food, drink
and merchandise through its various outlets.

Table 5.3.1 Annual income of the Savoy cinema
                                                              % of annual turnover
                                                              (2002-2003)


Ticket sales                                                  54%


Food, drink & merchandising                                   42%
- cinema kiosk                                                - 16%
- bar / restaurant                                            - 16%
- pizza take away outlet                                      - 10%

Advertising revenue                                           4%


Other income                                                  <1%




With 20 members of staff, staff costs were one of the biggest expenses for
the Savoy, accounting for 29% of the annual expenditure.                          Film hire
accounted for a similar proportion (30%), followed by expenditure on
catering (23%).

Table 5.3.2 Annual expenditure of the Savoy cinema3
                                                              % of annual expenditure
                                                              (2002-2003)


Staff costs (excl. NI & pension)                              29%
Film hire                                                     30%
Catering                                                      23%
Repairs and maintenance                                       3%
Rent / mortgage                                               6%
Advertising and publicity                                     2%
Office costs and travel                                       3%
Fuel and utilities                                            2%
Insurance                                                     1%
Subscriptions & licences                                      *
Bank charges & finance fees                                   1%

3
  Each case study cinema provided account information categorised in slightly different ways.
In order to present directly comparable expenditure breakdowns for the five cinemas, Table
5.3.2 excludes NI & pensions, rates, taxes and depreciation.
                                                                                13


Other expenditure                                     *




5.3.2 Measuring local money flows: the Savoy's local expenditure
As part of this study, we wanted to look at the place of cinemas in their local
economies.     In this section, we discuss the extent to which the Savoy's
expenditure stayed within the local area.


In order to measure what proportion of the Savoy's income immediately left
its local area, the researchers and cinema manager first needed to agree a
definition of "local", in order to calculate what constituted local spending.


In making these decisions, the main criterion was the catchment area for the
cinema audience.       Other criteria were the geography, transport links and
travel patterns of the area; and the location of, and pattern of business
between, suppliers in the area.


The Savoy's immediate local area was defined for the purposes of this study
as the Penwith district, an area of West Cornwall that stretches from Lands
End to Hayle.       The cinema was then asked to estimate how much of its
annual expenditure was "local".


As all the staff lived in the immediate local area, all the staff costs (excluding
National Insurance and pension contributions) could be defined as local
expenditure.


Analysing the cinema's other major expense - film hire - almost none of this
expenditure remained within the immediate local area, as no film distributors
were based in the region. Only 3% of the expenditure associated with film
hire remained within the region, and was accounted for by the Cornwall
based film couriers used by the Merlin group.


Where the market allowed it however, the Savoy tried to use local suppliers in
favour of more distant suppliers, in order to help sustain the local economy.
So, for example, 88% of the Savoy's expenditure on catering supplies and
equipment was spent regionally (19% within the immediate local area of
Penwith), 67% of the office costs and travel budget was spent in Cornwall or
Devon (48% within Penwith), and 68% of the repairs and renewals expenditure
was regional (36% local).
                                                                                                 14


In interviews with some of the Savoy's suppliers, it was clear that the Savoy
management was held in high regard by other local businesses, and the
cinema was seen as an important contributor to the local economy.                           The
cinema's relationship with other local businesses is discussed in a bit more
detail in section 5.3.4.2.


Overall, the Savoy spends about 42% of its annual expenditure within the
Penwith district, 55% within Cornwall and a further 4% in Devon.

Table 5.3.3 Extent to which Savoy expenditure remains within the locality / region4
                                         % spent locally, i.e. within   % spent within Cornwall
                                              Penwith District                 or Devon


Staff costs (excl. NI & pension)                    100%                        100%
Film hire                                            0%                           3%
Catering                                            19%                          88%
Repairs and maintenance                             36%                          68%
Rent / mortgage                                      0%                           0%
Advertising and publicity                            1%                          52%
Office costs and travel                             48%                          67%
Fuel and utilities                                   0%                           0%
Insurance                                           100%                        100%
Subscriptions & licences                             0%                          19%
Bank charges & finance fees                          7%                           7%
Other expenditure                                   90%                          90%


All expenditure                                     42%                          59%




5.3.3 Additional spend by cinema visitors
Above, it was established that just under half of the money spent by the
Savoy every year remains within the local area.                     This is a useful partial
measure of the cinema's impact on the local economy, but it does not take
into account the additional impact of the cinema's audience on the local
economy, that is, the money spent by cinema customers (and staff, paid and
unpaid) on their way to and from the cinema in local shops, bars and
restaurants, and on local transport, babysitters and so on.


Precise information about how much Savoy customers spent in this way was
not systematically collected during this study. However, during the course of

4
 The local expenditure rates in this table have been calculated over a slightly different time
period to that reported in Table 5.3.2.
                                                                             15


the study, a number of bars, restaurants, bakeries, food shops and take-
away outlets (several of which were on the same street as the cinema) were
identified, which attracted the custom of cinema visitors. For instance, there
is a sweet shop opposite the cinema, which does good trade with cinema
users.     The cinema has come to an informal agreement with the shop
whereby the cinema has agreed not to sell newspapers, and the shop has
agreed not to sell popcorn.




5.3.4 Other direct or indirect local economic impacts


5.3.4.1 Staff
The Savoy cinema has a direct impact on the labour market in Penzance and
the district of Penwith, through its regular employment of 20 members of
staff.   Three of these are employed on a full-time basis - the manager,
assistant manager and chef; and sixteen are on regular part-time contracts -
projectionist, chef, three pizza drivers, five bar staff, three box office staff
and three cleaners. One of the full-time staff - the technical manager - is
shared between the five cinemas belonging to the Merlin group. Additional
part-time staff are taken on during the summer months.


Staff training and the provision of career development opportunities are
other ways of enriching the local labour market, and the Merlin group
provides its staff with a range of different training and development options.
Merlin seek to provide good opportunities for staff to progress within the
company: for example, one long-standing staff member has moved from
cleaner to chef to accounts). All staff are expected to "multi-task", moving
from cinema to catering as necessary; thus, a job at the Savoy offers work
experience in a number of different roles.


Other training provided for cinema staff has included:
        in-house projectionist training for all managers (and other interested
         staff)
        fire-fighting courses for selected managers
        first aid courses for selected staff
        Business Link courses on financial issues for assistant managers
        informal induction training for new recruits, who are "shown the
         ropes" by more experienced members of staff
        distribution of staff handbooks outlining information about the
         organisation, including health and safety policies
                                                                             16




Perhaps as a result of the training and development opportunities, and
variety of roles possible within the Merlin group, the workforce has been
fairly stable over recent years: with several members of Savoy staff having
been with the company more than six years, and an average length of stay of
two years (so far) for Savoy staff as a whole.


The cinema manager feels that this workforce stability may also be due to
the relative scarcity of permanent year-round jobs in Penzance. At least until
recent years, much of the work available in Penzance has tended to be
seasonal, with many businesses in the service sector dependent on the large
influx of summer visitors. The Savoy has been one of the few companies
able to offer permanent year-round employment. This theory was supported
by the feedback received from other local businesses interviewed during the
study.   A number of the Savoy's local suppliers mentioned labour market
instability as having been a particular challenge for their business, with
seasonal workers moving out of the area in the winter months, as the level of
business reduced dramatically outside the tourist season. However, it was
also noted that this situation had improved greatly since the opening of new
tourist attractions in the area such as the Eden Project, the Maritime Museum
in Falmouth and the Tate at St Ives.


In addition to the training and work experience for its regular staff, the Savoy
also provides a week of work experience for about six pupils from local
schools every year.



5.3.4.2 Links with local businesses
As well as the Savoy's direct expenditure on local supplies and local staff
wages, the Savoy has a number of other links with local businesses, which
help to embed it within the local economy.


The manager of the Savoy plays an active part in the local Causewayhead
Trader Association, and hosts the association's meetings in the Savoy bar. In
this role, he has been directly involved in working with other local businesses
to regenerate Causewayhead.      In the early nineties, the street was largely
derelict, with many shop windows boarded up. The subsequent renovation
of the cinema and the rest of the street has significantly improved the
ambience of the area, and the level of trade, both for the cinema and other
adjacent businesses, has risen as a result.
                                                                          17


A number of the cinema's suppliers who took part in the study had been
working with the cinema for several years, with both parties acknowledging
the importance (both for themselves and the local economy) of maintaining
good personal and business relationships between independent local
businesses.


Association with the Savoy can be a marketing opportunity for local
businesses. For instance, although the cinema's suppliers did not tend to
advertise directly in the Savoy's brochures, when the Merlin group launched a
new project (e.g. cinema refurbishment, or purchase of a new cinema), some
suppliers took out support advertising in the local press, congratulating
Merlin on its new venture.


One supplier (a sign design and installation business) referred potential
clients to the completed signage and decor at the cinema, as an illustration
of the type and quality of work it could provide.


There were other reciprocal links between the cinema and its suppliers; for
example, one supplier had introduced the Savoy manager to new contacts,
which in turn led to the expansion of the Merlin group into a new part of the
South West.


The Savoy has some links with the local film-making industry, and has
screened rushes for local shoots (e.g. Johnny English), and has been used as
a location for TV productions.


The Savoy also has occasional links with Penwith Further Education College in
Penzance, and in its role as a local business, has given presentations to the
college's tourism and media students about how to market services to the
local community. This kind of training link, along with the work experience
opportunities given to six local school pupils every year, has a potential
indirect economic impact on the next generation of local businessmen and
women.



5.4 Summary of the Savoy's impact on the local community


Impact on labour market
The Savoy cinema has a direct impact on the labour market of Penzance
through its regular employment of twenty members of staff, and provision of
a range of training and career development opportunities for those staff.
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The cinema also offers regular work experience opportunities for local school
pupils, and occasional training to local tourism and media students.


Impact on local economy
Almost half of the Savoy's expenditure (42%) remains within the district of
Penwith, and 59% is spent within Cornwall and Devon. Where possible, the
cinema uses local suppliers and service providers, and employs local staff.


The recent renovations of the cinema building have contributed to the
regeneration of Causewayhead, and the cinema continues to be involved in
this regeneration through its membership of the Causewayhead Traders
Association. Other Causewayhead businesses also benefit from the passing
trade of the Savoy visitors.


Impact on local community
The cinema is seen as a key entertainment venue in Penzance, offering good
town centre access to a varied programme of films. It caters particularly well
for families, young children, those on low income and film enthusiasts; and
there is good public support for the cinema.


Challenges for the cinema
A number of challenges for the Savoy were identified by local people
participating in this study: in particular, the under promotion of the historical
significance of the cinema, and the Savoy's potential role as a meeting place;
and the fact that the cinema has not been given a more prominent position
in Penzance tourist or regeneration plans.

								
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