I never realised that there was a family centre on Westgate, to help families in crisis.
To be honest, I didn’t know there was a need for such a thing so, when my wife outlined a conversation she’d had with a friend of ours who works there, I was shocked, to say the least.
Like most people, I have a moan about times being hard, but when I hear the harrowing stories of people really suffering, I realise that I really am one of the lucky ones.
The family centre is organising some children’s parties in the days before Christmas so, as a very small gesture, we decide to buy some selection boxes which can be given as presents.
I put a post on the Carnival Facebook page and in the coming days I’m delighted that people call into my office to bring more selection boxes and sweets.
I know that these are small gestures and they won’t solve the bigger issues however, it shows that people care about others and surely that’s important.
It also made me realise that the Carnival could become a vehicle for doing all sorts of good in our community. We’d already decided that Cancercare are going to be the main beneficiary, but other charities will also benefit.
Boots the Chemist are entering a float and will raise money for Macmillan, our Security providers, ICU will raise money for a local homeless charity and other groups will benefit too.
I have to admit, by December 23 I felt very positive. I’d sorted out the last emergencies at work and was starting to wind down.
A week off with nothing to do but eat, drink, build Lego and watch my beloved Morecambe FC hand out a pasting to the Cod Army, Fleetwood Town on Boxing Day.
Then I received an email which changed everything.
The Carnival funding application to The Big Lottery Fund has been declined! I double check the email address in the hope that this is a joke but no, it’s real.
A while back we had attended a funding seminar where representatives from various organisations offered advice on accessing funds for local projects.
We outlined the Carnival proposal and was advised that it was an ideal project for Big Lottery funding. Naively, I’d assumed that this funding stream was almost certain and now……I’m devastated. Can the Carnival go ahead with yet another financial let down?
I think of all the people that would be disappointed; groups that are building floats, people who have donated money, The Bay Radio and The Visitor who have invested time and money, Workshop Media and Tradesignz who have done so much for free and, the members of our committee who have worked tirelessly for months (not to mention the charities that would lose out).
It goes without saying that we must go ahead, but I appeal directly to anyone who can help with fund raising to contact me via Facebook or website to Save our Carnival!