Build another Barsham 11

Build Another Barsham

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Any large event needs a float, especially if it is being held for the first time and there is no proof of the organisers being credit-worthy. The amount needed depends on how ambitious the event is likely to be. The first Barsham Faire began with a float of £400 as previously explained, and although juggling subsequent Faires have been larger and extended to three days there has been no need for a much larger float as stallholders' fees come in well beforehand, helping to keep the bank balance healthy.

The major expenses prior to the Faire are rain insurance and site construction, petty cash is usually needed by site workers.

During the Faire the treasurer will need a rota of reliable people to help collect and account stall percentages, gate money, etc. Boxes, money bags from the bank and night-safe deposit bags are prerequisite. Entertainers and others can be paid in cash on the site but be sure to get receipts and book everything.

After the Faire come the bills; they carry on trickling in for months afterwards so beware of early profit forecasting. To make accounting easier, as many bills as possible should be paid by cheque. The treasurer's job is made much smoother if everyone realises the importance if having clear reliable addresses to which debts can be sent. ‘The Scaffold Firm, Grimsby’ just isn't good enough. The treasurer can waste hours hunting down correct names and addresses after being given nothing but hazy descriptions by equally hazy site workers.

If turnover (not profit) is over £5,000 the event may be liable for V.A.T. The answer is to keep turnover below this figure. When you get over it, as we have, you must keep V.A.T. accounts and submit quarterly returns. Contact your local V.A.T. man and a friendly accountant for advice.

Finally, choose someone calm and unflappable for treasurer.


If an event is not covered by insurance and any member of the public is injured during that event the organisers are likely to face a large bill for damages. Public Liability Insurance is an inexpensive and sensible precaution to protect organisers and visitors. It covers every type of personal injury and because of the enormous sums which can be awarded against organisers in cases of damages which reach the courts it is worth insuring for a high sum. Minimum cover of £1,000,000 should not cost more than £15. Barsham usually has Public Liability Insurance of £250,000 at a premium around £20.

One strange custom is that although you are taking out insurance most companies insist that you display on notices, or print on tickets a disclaimer denying your liability for any accidents or damage to property. It is a device to reduce damages if anything gets taken to court.

By comparison, the cost of rain insurance is high. A typical Pluvius policy, as it is known in the business, covering four hours per day during which time one tenth of an inch of rain must fall will cost 11% of the sum insured, i.e. £1,000 sum insured costs a premium of £110. Rain insurance costs Barsham Faire around £400 each year, but as the majority of the bills are not paid until after the Faire it would be risky and unfair to our creditors not to insure. The same applies to any event run on substantial credit.

When deciding on which hours of the day to insure it is worth bearing in mind that once the public have arrived you do have some entrance money in your purse. Therefore we insure for one hour before we expect the crowds to build up from 11.30 am until 3.30 pm. People are sure to be put off coming if it is raining before they set out.

The insurance company will allow you to nominate someone in your district to measure rainfall as long as they consider your choice to be a sufficient expert, otherwise you have to accept their nominee.

It can be worthwhile and in some cases essential (see Fireworks) to insure against damage to local buildings or crops, although some Public Liability Policies can cover this.

Premiums for the types of insurance mentioned tend to be standard so you may as well choose a nationally known, sound, company. A friendly broker might shop around for the best deal and waive his brokerage fee if he is sympathetic to your cause.


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