COVID-19 Statement


Following the cancellation of the St Catharine’s College May Ball, we are pleased to be able to issue refunds to our ticket holders and launch the Kalopsia charitable appeal.

All ticket holders eligible for refunds have received emails to the contact addresses provided when they purchased their ticket. If you have not received an email regarding our refund procedure, please contact [email protected]

We apologise for the delays to our refund process, and would like to thank all of our ticket holders for their ongoing support.

Working to secure the largest possible refund for our ticket holders

The pandemic placed many of Cambridge’s May Week events in difficult financial circumstances, and sadly our Ball was no different. Since the Ball was cancelled in mid-May, our Committee has been working tirelessly to secure the largest possible refund amount for our ticket holders. Despite our contractual commitments to suppliers and incurring substantial losses, we are now delighted to be able to offer you a 100% refund on your ticket price. This is in large part thanks to:

  • Successfully negotiating deposit refunds and credit notes from our suppliers and partners;
  • A generous loan provided by St Catharine’s College in response to these exceptional circumstances; and of course
  • The patience and ongoing support of our ticket holders. 

Financial background

When the impact of the COVID pandemic made it clear that we would not be able to run large-scale events in the Summer term, Cambridge’s May Week events faced serious problems. Bookings for features including headline artists, tent infrastructure and event production companies are expensive and paid for in segmented deposit structures. In the case of our Ball, a large part of our expenditure had been used securing bookings before the end of 2019, with further deposits being put down in early 2020 long before lockdown.

While no additional funding was spent following the beginning of the United Kingdom’s lockdown - with our plans to postpone incurring no further sunk costs - over 40% of our total budget had been spent by the time we decided to cancel our Ball. 

As we did not want to offer diminished refunds to our ticket holders, our Committee worked hard to reclaim a large part of our expenditure. Full deposit refunds were provided by many of our business partners, while others offered credit notes redeemable for the next St Catharine’s May Ball. The support we received from our partners allowed us to reclaim over 65% of our expenditure - however, this left us able to offer only 70% refunds to our ticket holders.

College support

After helpful conversations over the past few months with members of St Catharine’s College’s Governing Body, we were relieved to be offered support that will allow us to finance refunds for our ticket holders to the value of 100% of their original ticket price. This consisted of a grant and cash flow to cover our remaining losses.

We are incredibly grateful to St Catharine’s College for this exceptional support, and to the College’s JCR and MCR Committees for helping us find solutions to the difficulties we’ve faced.

The Kalopsia charity appeal

We would like to encourage all of our ticket holders to contribute all or part of their refund amount to the Kalopsia appeal – a fund that will support our partner charities.

Our Committee’s disappointment when we cancelled the Ball was compounded when we realised that the financial losses our Ball had incurred would prevent us from donating to our partnered charities - Jimmy’s Cambridge and Sahabat Anak.

Jimmy’s provides 24/7 emergency accommodation for Cambridge’s homeless community, while their volunteer network works hard to bring positive change to the lives of many throughout Cambridgeshire. Sahabat Anak is an Indonesian charity which helps children living on the street through providing advocacy and funding for education and support programmes.

As part of our refund procedure, we have offered our ticket holders the opportunity to donate all or a percentage portion of their refund amount to our charitable drive. This will be donated in equal amounts to Jimmy’s, Sahabat Anak, and the Big May Ball Appeal - Coronavirus

Thank you for your support and patience throughout these uncertain times. We hope you and everyone in our community is able to stay safe over the coming months.

The St Catharine’s College May Ball Committee

St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, CB2 1RL