Frustrations over lack of Grantham Carnival funding aired

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Criticism of funding given by the council and of the no-show by Grantham Carnival critics was voiced at an open meeting of its committee.

The meeting was held by the committee in response to comments made on the Journal’s Facebook page criticising the traditional event. On the site, people called for fresh ideas, a bigger parade and the chance to put their ideas forward.

Yet only six people turned out to the meeting on Wednesday evening. Committee chairman Roy Wright said he was pleased to see some new faces and proceeded to explain the financial state of affairs - which showed the carnival is running at a loss of £3,300.

Roy said: “Grantham Carnival exists because of the hard work of volunteers and contrary to what Facebook says, ‘does Roy Wright get a fee?’ no Roy Wright doesn’t get a fee for doing it.

“All of these people are volunteers and they give their own time. We never hand expense sheets in. We do it for the love of the community.”

For the last eight years, South Kesteven District Council has funded £6,000 towards the £14,000 total of putting on the parade and carnival. But the committee believes funding should have increased to compensate for the rise in the cost of putting the event on.

Last year’s Gravity Fields Festival was also a hot topic, with members saying SKDC should prioritise the locally organised carnival as a long-running community event.

Councillor Frances Cartwright, cabinet member for grow the economy, said SKDC constantly sought new ideas and events to run.

She added: “We launched Gravity Fields as a completely new concept, to be repeated every two years and designed to be a national, even international event, to put the district on the map and flag up Grantham to investors. We believe we were successful in that.

“We have supported Grantham Carnival with £6,000 of funding every year for the last eight years. In fact last year we went out of our way to help when they had a problem, closing Watergate car park to accommodate floats and thereby losing income from that car park. If Spalding Flower Festival is struggling, is a carnival what local people actually want?”

Suggestions given by members of the public during the meeting included applying for grants, attracting out-of-towners, encouraging business and school and utilising local performing arts groups.

Dave Pepperdine, from Grantham, was new at the meeting. He said there is “rampant apathy” from people in Grantham, and that he had attended the meeting to find out why the event had “gone downhill”. He said SKDC should better support it financially.