Monday, 23 April 2012


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Four Leicester festivals facing funding cuts
Funding for four Leicester city festivals could be reduced or cut entirely.
A series of proposals has been put forward by city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby after a review of how much money Leicester City Council spent on festivals was carried out.
Under the plans the Caribbean Carnival would see funding reduced by £40,000 over the next three years.
Payments to the Castle Park Festival would be scrapped, with the idea of developing a new weekend heritage and arts festival to focus on Leicester's historic core. The proposals also include halving funding for the Hindu religious festival Dashera and the Humberstone Park bonfire losing its support entirely.
Sir Peter said: "Leicester's festivals give us the chance to celebrate together, make our city a vibrant and exciting place to be and boost the local economy.
"The aim of this review has been to make sure that public funding of our celebrations is used in the most efficient way and the events we offer are as appealing as possible, to as many people as possible."
Funding for Leicester Comedy Festival, Belgrave Mela, Riverside Festival and the Christmas lights switch-on are all protected under the proposals.
Abbey Park bonfire, the St George's Day festival, Diwali celebrations and Spark Children's Arts Festival, would also continue.
Sir Peter also revealed that he would like to see a new festival created.
He said: "Personally, I would like to see a new festival that brings together people from our many different communities and celebrates city life. I would be very interested to hear what other suggestions people may have."
The council's budget to support festivals is £365,000.
Only festivals and events to which the council gives £5,000 or more are under review, meaning funding for Leicester Gay Pride, Leicester Horticultural Show, St Patrick's Day celebrations and Braunstone Carnival is not threatened.
All of the proposals and a questionnaire are on the council's website at the address below.
The consultation will run until 6pm on Friday, July 27.
Views gathered will go to the city mayor and his cabinet for consideration before final decisions are made in the autumn.

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