David Brayshaw column: Cash key for carnival

Chairman  of Morecambe Carnival  organising committee David Brayshaw.
Chairman of Morecambe Carnival organising committee David Brayshaw.

Still smarting from the decision by the Big Lottery Fund to turn down the carnival’s funding application, I am desperate to find alternative funding streams and as the carnival is only 17 weeks away, I need to do this quickly.

In the early days of planning, I had presented the idea of the carnival to ‘Go Morecambe’ who, as I’ve mentioned before, are dedicated to promoting and improving Morecambe. Following this I’d been invited to a Town Team meeting discussing the Portas money which Morecambe had been awarded. I’d then attended further meetings discussing general ideas for boosting Morecambe and specifically for establishing a Heritage Centre.

All these various meetings were interesting but, perhaps more importantly for me, they enabled me to network with (and get email addresses from) some very clever and innovative people. I decided to take advantage of this and send out some SOC emails. These are similar to SOS, except Souls are replaced by Carnival.

I wasn’t disappointed. Within hours I’d received email replies suggesting alternative revenue streams, local businesses to approach, sponsorship ideas and thanks to Ian Hughes, a great spreadsheet which will prove invaluable in our fundraising efforts.

Thanks too must go to Debbie Cain who even managed to discuss the carnival plans with Wayne Hemingway and put me in touch with a marvellous web tool at www.kickstarter.com.

This seems to be a fantastic way of obtaining funding for new ideas and start-ups and it’s certainly worth a look.

Feeling a bit more positive, I thought if only we could get all the people that I’ve met at these meetings together in one room, I’m sure they’d could come up with some brilliant long term ideas for promoting and improving Morecambe. Then of course, I remembered the Morecambe Area Action Plan (MAAP) which has been produced by Lancaster City Council. This is their long-term plan for Morecambe. It’s on their website and is worth a read, although it is 98 pages long. I got to page 20 then spat my coffee out when I read that staging festivals was an integral part of the plan. Errrm… isn’t that what the carnival is trying to do? Then page 21 makes reference to better signage for visitors and reducing excess traffic!

I’m a bit baffled by this. This signage, where exactly is it going to send visitors to? And as for excess traffic, the only excess traffic I’ve seen in Morecambe recently is driving away from the Globe Arena after a home match.

Surely we need to establish attractions before we can put signs up and if these attractions mean traffic congestion, great, I’d love some of that.

I’m perhaps being a little unfair to Lancaster City Council. After all, they have agreed to close the Battery and Northumberland Street car parks on carnival day although I’m already anticipating a battle of wills with the drivers, who will take up the challenge on behalf of drivers everywhere to park on these car parks regardless.