GRANTHAM Carnival is run by a small, but very dedicated voluntary committee, all of whom have jobs and families. Organising each carnival is very time consuming.
When one carnival is finished the next is well on its way to being organised. There is a lot of red tape to adhere to and various hoops to jump through in order to provide the town with a family-orientated two-day event.
Each year we have to apply to South Kesteven District Council for funding, which covers approximately 50 per cent.
Fundraising, sponsorship and stall rent is needed to help cover the rest. We have to hire toilets, power, marquees etc, which is a huge cost. Wyndham Park doesn’t have sufficient facilities required by law to run this kind of event.
If local businesses, organisations, schools, charities or even members of the public are not willing to support us, it proves to be an uphill struggle. After all, it’s your town and your carnival.
When the committee ask for volunteers, help with funding or even general support to help run the weekend, it is quite often unheard. More help is always gratefully received, even if attending committee meetings is a problem, there are other ways to be involved or bodies physically helping over the weekend would be a bonus.
I would like to thank Joy Wilson, of Grantham Dramatic Society, who tried in vain to get other local like-minded groups involved in the parade. Her efforts were received with apathy from those asked to take part.
This year we followed the same procedure as we have over the past 25 years for organising the parade, taking our directives from the Police. Very little has changed over the years, only minor ‘tweaks’ which have been implemented when we’ve been told to do so.
Mr Heaton informed the Journal that he sent a letter during June 2010 to the carnival secretary, outlining the changes. Maybe he should have sent it recorded delivery as it wasn’t received and therefore we were unaware of the changes in procedures until 11 days before this year’s parade.
In 2008 when I telephoned Mr Heaton’s office to enquire about road closures - a request made by the Police to do so - I was informed after I’d gone into lengthy discussions to explain the logistic of the parade, that Lincolnshire Highways cannot carry out rolling road closures, which is how we operate the parade. The Police have to perform that duty, as they always have! Figure it all out if you can.
Also, last week we were made aware that the parade has been running ‘illegally’ for the past six years. Lincolnshire Highways have had that long to inform us so to try to stop us carrying on as usual this year was inexcusable.
Rest assured that Mr Heaton’s office has already been sent a letter of request for a meeting with all concerned at his earliest convenience, to discuss every aspect of the carnival, especially the parade.
With regard to changing the carnival site, I ask is there a venue anywhere else in this town big enough to accommodate the carnival at no extra cost to the committee?
Also to the person who suggested having BMX demonstrations during the weekend, the own of BMX City, here in Grantham, did approach the chairman asking if he could organise something along those lines.
He was invited to a committee meeting to outline his proposal, but he failed to attend. And yes, it is down to funding or lack of it, that determines what sort of entertainment we can sensibly afford to put on.
Furthermore, the DJ area was ‘allowed’ because that group approached us last year wanting to do something different at the carnival.
If anybody would like to offer their suggestions to the committee you can write to me and it will be brought up at the next committee meeting on July 14. Alternatively, you’d be made most welcome to attend in person to air your ideas.
To anyone who is interested, the date for next year’s carnival weekend is June 15/16/17, funding and permission permitting.
The theme for the parade, if we’re allowed to have one, will be The Olympics, so get your thinking caps on, you’ve got a year’s notice!
Personally, I am very grateful to all who took part in this year’s carnival, from the princess competition, parade participants, on-site attractions and personnel, without whom there would be no carnival weekend. I hope to see you all again next year.
Finally, special thanks go to this year’s town mayor, Coun Mike Taylor, for his support and for making the carnival one of his good causes for the mayoral year.
Secretary, Edinburgh Road, Grantham