I took Carla out for another romantic evening again last week: Morecambe Town Hall again, this time for the Annual Town Meeting. Will she never learn.
I’ve never been to one of these meetings but I was told that it’s where the public can raise questions and get to quiz the local councillors. An opportunity not to be missed, I thought.
Anyway we turned up expecting the Town Hall to be packed but alas, there were only about seven other members of the public, which was disappointing.
At least it meant that I got more than one biscuit but the Town Hall coffee is rubbish.
We met Chris Read, from Bare Fest (Saturday, June 7 12pm–4pm) and Sue Boswell, who organises the Tutti Frutti Festival, 25 and 26 July. These events are free during the day and I know that they attract many people from outside our area so brings business to the hotels and B and B’s.
Event organisers have to start planning more than a year in advance of each festival and I know that Chris and Sue, like many organisers, are frustrated because of the uncertainty of funding from Morecambe Council.
Each event has to apply for funding every year and this occurs in September, which means that organisers are having to take a gamble on whether the council will offer support or not.
It’s made worse by the fact that last year many festivals were told that they would be funded this year but warned that they may not receive funding for 2015, or that it would be significantly cut.
Imagine how difficult this is for event organisers when trying to plan acts for next year. They either take a gamble and book acts hoping that they will get funding or they decide that they cannot take the chance and so the 2015 event doesn’t happen and these are the free events, held for the enjoyment of the general public.
I still cannot understand why the council don’t just sit down with the organisers of events in Morecambe and make plans for two or three years; this would give a bit of security to the events which would make planning easier and must lead to improvement. After all, there is a budget set aside every year to fund events, so committing a proportion of this for the next three years is possible.
Obviously no one is suggesting that they commit the whole budget and it’s likely to decline each year and, I also appreciate that new events will submit requests each year and some funding should be kept in the budget for these.
Morecambe relies on tourism to grow our economy and the Festival Season in an important part of Morecambe’s Tourism Plan.
The Council needs to realise this and change their policy accordingly.
My social life is definitely becoming tedious and Carla says she will leave me if I don’t take her somewhere other than the Town Hall; I think that she was joking.