Ten events face funding delay

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Councillors have agreed to delay the release of funding to support 10 events across Argyll and Bute which had hoped to take place this year.

Every spring, decisions are made on how to distribute the council’s strategic events and festivals fund (SEF) with this year’s pot totalling £90,000.

However, councillors have now agreed a recommendation that funding decisions be delayed until May as the events calendar in Argyll and Bute has been practically wiped out. In 2020, eight out of nine events to receive funding were cancelled.

The other, the Tiree Wave Classic surfing competition (TWC), was originally rescheduled to March 2021 and just last week it was put back to mid-October.

The council’s policy and resources committee decided at its virtual meeting on Thursday February 18, to delay the latest round of funding.

Organisers of 10 events were waiting to hear the fate of their applications which opened last year on October 22 and closed on December 7.

Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said at the time Scotland was not facing a national lockdown.

‘However, this position has changed very quickly and we are now facing a much more serious position than in March of last year,’ she said.

‘Given the uncertainty and unpredictability it would seem pragmatic to delay and review the position over the next two/three months rather than agree to award grants for strategic events and festivals that will not be able to go ahead as planned.’

‘This will allow both the council and the event organisations themselves to hopefully be clearer as to the feasibility and viability of these events taking place in 2021.’

Ms Flanagan concluded: ‘Unfortunately the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is still unknown and the status of strategic events and festivals will continue to change.

‘The loss of any event from the local economy will be significant, and as such in an effort to support the economic recovery it is important that funding support is available to support strategic events when they are in a position to go ahead.’

William MacLean, event host for Tiree Wave Classic, said the plan is to stage the event in its original calendar position of mid October – the 10-16th inclusive.

‘Obviously Covid may still be a strong consideration in October but we intend now to turn all of our efforts to being able to deliver a Covid-proofed event, later this year.

‘We would ask registered competitors at this time to email us and let us know whether you prefer to roll over your entry to October, or whether you require a refund at this point.’