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Aldeburgh: Carnival facing funding crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 May 2011 | UPDATED: 16:57 09 May 2011

Part of the procession at last year's Aldeburgh Carnival

Part of the procession at last year's Aldeburgh Carnival

ONE of Suffolk’s most popular and historic carnivals is facing a funding crisis due to rising costs that could put its future in doubt.

The three-day Aldeburgh Carnival, which dates back more than 170 years, attracts thousands of visitors to the coastal resort every year but organisers are struggling to balance the books.

The carnival has become the latest community event to encounter difficulties with soaring costs, particularly as Suffolk Constabulary is no longer funding policing of such events due to budget cutbacks.

Committee members have been hit by a bill of £5,000 for policing the event this year while equipment costs have risen by more than 40% to £8,500.

The overall cost of running the event has risen from less than £30,000 to about £38,000 – and even if the event is successful and enjoys fine weather, committee members are still expecting to make a loss of £1,000.

The carnival is funded by sponsorship, grants and donations.

Diana Biddlecombe, from the committee, said planning for this year’s event began last September, before the increased costs became clear.

“We have decided to go-ahead this year but we are more reliant than ever on people’s generosity and time,” she said.

“We have told our advertisers that there is uncertainty over the carnival’s future.

“We will see how things go but we may have to scale things back. We will have to give it serious consideration in the autumn.

“But it is such an institution and it will be such a shame (if we have to make cuts). We do have some reserves but that can only keep us going for so long.”

Mrs Biddlecombe said the cost of equipment, such as safety barriers and lighting, had risen dramatically this year. It means that costs for visitors such as car parking will be increased.

But the single biggest bill is for the policing of the event, after Suffolk police said it could no longer offer the service for free.

The likely funding shortfall means the committee will not be able to distribute money to local groups and causes as in previous years.

Police announced last year they would no longer be able to offer services for free to community events, in line with new National Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines.

They said the need for a police presence would be decided on a case-by-case basis and the cost of policing would depend on the nature and duration of the event.

Earlier this year, it was announced the Lowestoft Carnival parade will not take place this year due to insurmountable costs, including a policing bill for traffic control, while at Beccles the route of its carnival procession was changed because police were unable to man the traffic.

This year’s Aldeburgh Carnival, taking place on August 13, 14 and 15, will feature the usual fireworks display, lantern parade, float procession, mini-marathon, air sea rescue demonstration and a host of stalls, shows and activities. The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas will be performing in the parade.

Any businesses or individuals interested in sponsorship or fundraising for the carnival can find more information at www.aldeburghcarnival.com or can email info@aldeburghcarnival.com. The carnival committee can also be contacted c/o The Moot Hall, Market Cross Place, Aldeburgh IP15 5DS.

6 comments

  • looks like sky red hasnt left ipswich before ipswich is 44 miles away from norwich,and aldeburgh is 41 miles away from norwich,

    Report this comment

    highfive11

    Monday, May 9, 2011

  • Amazing how the Police and other groups who are supposed to serve the public can now decide what they will and won't do. I don't recall seeing a drop in my council tax for the services I am no longer getting....

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Monday, May 9, 2011

  • Begging bowls are out again, now should I give my 10p to this or the libraries or the air ambulance or the hospice or should I just keep it in my pocket because some day I am going to need it? Welcome back to Thatchers Britain of the 80s, it's every man for himself, the rich are getting richer and the poor, well...... who cares about us? Quick suggestion though for the Carnival people - cancel the fireworks. Organise a sponsored synchronised lentil knitting display instead, loads of Big Society bods would love that...

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Monday, May 9, 2011

  • Why should us Ipswich folk care? Isn't Aldeburgh somewhere up north near Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Sky Red

    Monday, May 9, 2011

  • If the swells at Alderburgh can't run to a carnival, things have come to a pretty pass indeed, but perhaps the solution to their so-called "economic predicament" can be found in the local community (IE Dave Cameroon's "Big Society"). Instead of paying the local constabulary an exorbitant fee to police the event, why not allow the market to dictate the arrangements, and the Carnival Committee can put security contract out to tender and invite applications or, failing that, they could simply approach the local Scout Group or Hell's Angel's chapter and ask them to provide security services in return for a contribution.

    Report this comment

    martha farquhar

    Monday, May 9, 2011

  • @sax news man: According to your calculations (IE 44-41), Aldeburgh is only 3 miles away from Ipswich, but it's actually much further, I think it's probably closer to forty miles.

    Report this comment

    martha farquhar

    Monday, May 9, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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