Over £9K raised in club crowdfunding appeal so far

A NIGHTCLUB owner is appealing to Islanders to help him save his business by donating to a crowdfunding campaign, as he says the support provided by the government as been ‘wholly inadequate’.

ROJO. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30020627)
ROJO. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30020627)

ROJO owner JP Anquetil is aiming to raise £15,000, which he says will help to cover staff wages and help pay off some of the £45,000 of debt which the club has accumulated since it was forced to close at the start of the pandemic last March.

More than £5,000 was donated within hours of the ‘Save ROJO’ Crowdfunder page going live, and more than £9,000 has been raised so far.

Although the club qualifies for the government’s new Visitor Attraction and Events Support Scheme, Mr Anquetil said the measure had arrived a ‘little too late’ and was ‘wholly inadequate’.

‘Despite countless promises of support from the States, we have had to wait until now for a support package to be released, despite being told it would come in September. And it falls a long way short of the support required by those businesses that have been forced to stay closed since March,’ he said.

The ROJO appeal follows similar campaigns launched by UK nightclubs such as Egg London and Glasgow’s Sub Club.

Mr Anquetil added: ‘It would be a real shame if we had to close. The premises has been used for night life for as long as I can remember and the scene over here is already a fraction of what it used to be. If things don’t change soon, then there will be no clubs left in Jersey.’

Despite the club being closed, Mr Anquetil said he still had to pay rent and electricity bills, which had forced him to borrow money from family and friends.

He added: ‘The criteria required for the [government] scheme is so tough that, despite a 70% downturn in business since the beginning of the pandemic, we will qualify for minimal support and only from the month of December. There is no support for the previous eight months, during which time we have accrued debts of more than £45,000.’

Those donating towards the Save ROJO campaign will have their name featured on a mural inside the club and Mr Anquetil said the money raised by the scheme would be used in a variety of ways.

‘The money will cover immediate outstanding critical debts and interest payments, as well as staff wages, which have to be paid a month in advance before a claim can be made to the payroll scheme.’

Donations can be made at crowdfunder.co.uk/saverojo.

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