Carnival funding concerns prompt fears over future from readers

Weston Carnival, Gorgons CC. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston Carnival, Gorgons CC. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The future of Weston Carnival was a hot topic of debate on the Weston Mercury Facebook page this week.

The paper last week revealed concerns over the event's running, due to a cut in funding.

North Somerset Council has pumped £20,000 into the November fiesta over recent years, but will stop providing money from next year.

Carnival organisers say that, in part, leaves them needing to find £35,000 to keep it going.

Chairman of Weston Carnival, Terry Gilbert, said: "We are very grateful for North Somerset's support, but we still face funding shortages from next year.

"I hope Weston Carnival continues forever, but four of us are over 70 in our committee and we need to hand the event over, preferably to a small business."

The council said it stepped in two years ago to help save the event and the carnival is now in a 'stronger position'.

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But deputy leader Mike Bell has promised to meet organisers.

On Facebook, Chris Gowan said: "Council cuts carnival funding! But will still benefit financially from the carnival and it wants to put up council tax!"

Gareth Saunders believes the council could help out organisers in a different way.

He said: "If the council wants it to be a self-funding event, why not pass on to the committee all the additional money it makes on the night from car parking, street trader licences and concessions etc? After all it is the carnival that is earning those things on that day."

Alan Woodier, similarly, said some of the money raised from parking fines could be used to support the event.

However, there are strict regulations on how councils can use money accrued from parking charges and fines.

Ruth Harper called on other Weston institutions to help out.

She said: "Why don't the college help out they seem to be forever growing.

"It could even be used for coursework studies and even photographers catering young adults etc could get involved.

"Bridgwater College helps out Bridgwater Carnival - why can't we help out ours?"

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