Festival chiefs blast council over funding

Brighouse 1940s weekend parade on Sunday.
Brighouse 1940s weekend parade on Sunday.

Calderdale Council has set aside £50,000 to fund community festivals and events in the borough.

But the Conservative-led Cabinet voted to give priority to new and innovative community events and festivals, with some of the funding being used to encourage events in areas of Calderdale where no such events exist.

The move has prompted members of Brighouse Business Initiative (BBI) - who organise events such as the 1940s Weekend, Victorian Christmas Weekend and seasonal food and craft markets in the town - to ask why funding is not being made available to these events and others across Calderdale.

Lesley Adams (right), of the BBI, said in 2014 the group had to pay Calderdale Council £6,927.14 for the hiring of stalls, Brighouse Civic Hall, car parks, and licences. This was before anything was spent by the group on entertainment.

“I can’t comprehend why Calderdale Council aren’t whole-heartedly supporting what we do. They should be encouraging us,” she said.

“We have a fantastic attraction and the largest events in Calderdale which encourages people all over the country and abroad to come, so why don’t the council help promote Calderdale here?

“What we do has a huge economic impact across Calderdale.

“So many of our traders come from Calderdale and they have a huge benefit. We and the traders can’t afford to stop what we are doing.

“Despite the best efforts of Calderdale Council, we will carry on.”

She also said that £300,000 of funding secured in January 2014 from the Arts Council by the Square Chapel Centre for the Arts as part of the Cultural Destinations initiative should be used for the whole of the region and not just central Halifax.

The project is being run in partnership with partners including Calderdale Council, Square Chapel, Orangebox, Halifax Festival and Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

Talking about funding for new festivals Coun Marcus Thompson, cabinet member for communities and business change, said: “The Economic Task Force already has an allocation that it gives to promote local events.

“The aim of this funding is to encourage areas of the borough to start events that haven’t already got them rather than financing existing ones.

“It’s also to grow new and innovative events that haven’t happened before.

“It’s to help areas where the spirit is running but the funds have been unavailable.”