A POPULAR Bournemouth music venue has launched an appeal to prevent its demise amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Chaplin's & The Cellar Bar in Boscombe could be forced into a permanent closure if social distancing measures remain in place for an extended period of time.

Owner Harry Seccombe has joined the national #SaveOurVenues initiative launched by the Music Venue Trust to help the bar emerge on the other side of the virus.

A Crowdfunder page with a target of £20,000 has been set up to help Mr Seccombe cover the cost of rent during lockdown.

He told Daily Echo: “It is costing us money to be shut and I worry that when we hopefully re-open, the numbers just won’t be there and we will hit a precipice.

“Seated music venues are not particularly profitable, it’s a tight model of a business.”

Prior to the nationwide lockdown, there had been tough trading at Chaplin's with a reduced number of customers due to nationwide uncertainty.

Building works had also been taking place in January which had to cease due to the virus, thus depleting the bar even further.

Concerns also surround staffing, and with all 28 staff members already on furlough, Mr Seccombe fears costs will continue to run high so long as lockdown continues.

Mr Seccombe said: “Say we remain closed until September, that is essentially a six month closure and a £20,000 holiday bill hanging over the business.

“All of the businesses within the initiative are in the same position This is a cliff edge for the whole industry.”

Despite fears over the multi-award winning bar’s future, the community has wowed Mr Seccombe with donations and pledges of support.

He said: “I have been absolutely amazed.

“We raised one quarter of our target in the first day of setting up the Crowdfunder page.

“We have given a lot to the community in Boscombe, so I feel really humbled by the response.”

Mr Seccombe hopes to raise enough to help pay for rent and to ensure the business remains able to employ staff as well as host a variety of artists in the coming years.

He added: “I am very determined for us not to go.

“I will make sure that we can open and do my best to get people to continue supporting us.”

If the Crowdfunder surpasses Harry's £20,000 target, all extra funds will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund.

To support Chaplin's and The Cellar Bar, visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/savechaplins