The immediate future of Bath Festivals has been secured following news that councillors have agreed to a £75,000 one-off grant to help organisers build a wider audience over the next three years.
Bath Festivals had requested a £75,000 loan to help it implement its new three-year business plan.
Following an assessment of Bath Festivals’ position, the cabinet at its meeting last night (July 10) was asked to approve a one-off grant, with conditions attached, in order secure a sustainable future for the organisation.
Councillor Dine Romero, Council Leader, said: “This one-off grant will allow Bath Festivals to unlock further funding to ensure its longer-term future so it can continue contributing to the local economy and to the vibrancy of our area. It is also welcome that Bath Festivals, as part of the conditions attached to the funding, will support the council in taking action on our Plastic Free pledge and on the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency. In addition we look forward to playing a role in future programmes that attract wider and more diverse audiences.”
Conditions attached to the grant, as well as support for the council’s Plastic Free pledge and the Climate Emergency resolution, would see a Bath and North East Somerset councillor added to the Bath Festivals board. The councillor would be nominated by the Council Leader.
A further condition would be that Bath Festivals review its staffing levels to minimise costs, and also that no bonus payments be made to Bath Festivals staff.
Bath Festivals runs the annual Bath Festival, the Children’s Literature Festival as well as creative learning opportunities for children.
Bath Festivals chief executive Ian Stockley added: “Working to engage the wider community we launched the combined arts festival in 2017 and the finale weekend on the Rec in 2018, while dramatically reducing our reliance on public funding. The support of Bath & North East Somerset Council at this stage of the transition to a community arts festival for the city is hugely encouraging and a validation of our plan for 2020-22, where we will increase the pace of change on the back of the work completed in the first three years of the transition. Growing further our collaboration and partnerships with local organisations is key to the plan and we are thrilled that the new administration recognizes the huge contribution that the arts bring to our great city and the surrounding community.”
For the 2019 events Bath Festivals state “We get no local government funding, we’re a charity, so your (the public as individuals) donation means we can continue to run Party in the City as a free event in the future. Even with the generosity of the venues, bands, our wonderful army of volunteers and the goodwill of all involved Party in the City costs over £20,000 in infrastructure costs, licencing and other ad hoc costs to put on.”
Whilst the £75k was a loan and presumably will be repayed?
How much was the “one-off grant”? Will that be ring fenced to support the FREE at the point of use for thousands of Bathonians who attend Party in the City?
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