Isolation diary: Asking for refunds

You can find previous Isolation diaries here.

Over the last couple of days I have been receiving emails telling me that events I was planning to attend have been either cancelled or, optimistically, postponed. They offer me the choice of getting a refund for the tickets I bought, waiting to see whether the event will go ahead later, or leaving the ticket money as a donation. I have donated in every case, adding on the benefit of Giftaid.

I could afford to buy the tickets in the first place, and I am not experiencing a drop in income during this crisis, so my financial position has not changed at all as a result of the cancellations. So I don’t need the money, but in many cases the organisers and performers do.

Running local independent theatres and music venues is a risky enough business in good times, and I certainly want them to emerge from this dark tunnel with a future. So the Rose Theatre Kingston and the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith can keep the money I spent on tickets. As can the Mayor’s charity gig I was going to attend in a couple of weeks, and the 70th Anniversary Dinner for my choir.

Speaking of the choir, I was, in fact, due to sing in a concert myself this Saturday (Bach Magnificat, since you ask – see image). I do hope some of the people who had already bought tickets reciprocate and don’t ask for a refund. (For any other singers out there – take a look at the Sofa Singers.)

There is one exception to this approach.

We had booked a rather expensive holiday for July. Ironically the highlight of the holiday was to be a visit to Oberammergau in Bavaria. Ironic, because in 1633 the village pledged to perform a Passion Play every ten years if it was spared any further deaths from the plague.  The first play was performed in 1634 using 15th and 16th century texts. Since then it has been performed in every year ending in 0, and has only been cancelled once, in 1940.  The whole village gets involved and the play runs from May to October.

We have just heard that the Passion Play is being postponed for two years, so the options will be to transfer the booking to 2022 or to ask for a refund. I think we will go for the latter.

Asking for refunds? I will be doing so only if really necessary.

BUT, and it’s a big but, anyone who is facing a reduction in personal income during this time should NOT feel guilty about asking for a refund.  Those of us who are continuing to draw a normal salary or pension can shoulder some of the impact and protect those who are finding life financially more challenging than usual.


Please note

We are in self-isolation to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised. We are not quarantined, so we can do one or two things (like going out for a walk) that you can’t do if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has.

There is full advice on quarantining here, and advice on social distancing for vulnerable people here.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I stayed home because a meeting I would have gone to was being live streamed on Youtube. Of course there were technical problems so I was not able see it. This is what I missed.

  • Thanks Mary

    That’s my position too. I also encourage those who might think they no longer need a cleaner or dog walker to consider paying some or all of what they would be getting. This is all with the assumption that you can still afford it and that your own income is reasonably secure.

    If anything, I’m going to be saving money in the coming weeks, so I’ve been thinking how I can best redirect that. One thing is to continue to support the local shops that are staying open. I have an excellent local green grocer who is going above and beyond to organise free deliveries for those who need them, and a café that moving towards more takeaway options.

    I’ve seen fundraisers for foodbanks, and to cover some of the living costs of those who are facing a sudden drop in income, so I suggest people keep an eye out for ones in their local area, or relevant to the events they are no longer attending.

  • I’ve just remembered that a lot of local shops do have stock. Yes, they are more expensive than Costco or Aldi or normal supermarkets, but if you can afford to buy from them, please do. It keeps them in business as well as leaving stock for those who can only afford the cheapest stuff. Plus you avoid a big horrible queue of people who think that 2m is 20cm.

  • @Fiona – I offered to pay my cleaner by weekly standing order from now on, whether or not she works, and I’m delighted she has accepted.

  • William wallace 20th Mar '20 - 2:09pm

    Mary: we’ve done the same with our cleaner, who Risks losing the hourly rates she was also paid as a teaching assistant. Charities will also be at risk, some facing a sharp rise in demand, others losing sources of income. The musical education charity I’m a trustee of (theVoces8 Foundation) has now cancelled all planned concerts and trading sessions – but we still have staff salaries to pay, so are welcoming supporters waiving refunds.

  • William wallace 20th Mar '20 - 2:11pm

    Sorry: training sessions!

  • William wallace 20th Mar '20 - 2:12pm

    Sorry: training sessions! Going into schools, running workshops, all the activities that are now being stopped.

  • William wallace 20th Mar '20 - 2:13pm

    Sorry: training, not trading. Going into schools, running workshops, all the activities that are now being stopped.

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