The news last week that SKDC had removed funding for the Grantham Events Group was extremely disappointing.
After further clarification from SKDC, who announced they won’t be immediately removing funding but will after 2015, I was amazed by their lack of foresight.
I can only imagine what I would feel like when heading up a voluntary group like that. Year on year, they face criticism, cynicism and roadblocks when they are working extremely hard to maintain traditions and joyful times that have marked Grantham’s history throughout the years.
SKDC highlighted they were looking to spend their money more wisely in future and the £13,000 a year they were funding the group for can be better spent on other projects. While I agree with the premise they can spend their money more wisely, I disagree with the conclusion that funding should be withdrawn from the Grantham Events Group. Money can be spent more wisely by restraining executive pay, removing free tea and coffee for councillors, avoiding paying outside bodies for town centre management consultancy work, as well as maintaining strong revenue streams to make the operation more commercially effective.
By withholding what is a relatively small amount which is of great importance to the people who use it, SKDC runs the risk of consigning historical traditions to the dustbin. Are they comfortable with the carnival being at risk? Are they happy that St George’s Day could pass with minimal recognition? These events not only lift spirits, but create commercial opportunities for traders and businesses. Are the decision-makers so short-sighted that they are willing to hedge their bets around their own festival? Gravity Fields is great and I am an ardent supporter of it, but it should only be a part of a broader commercial strategy that includes supporting local, long-standing traditions and events.
Once again the council have shown they know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. Let us show them that the events that Grantham Events Group organise are worth maintaining and deserving of continued financial support from SKDC.