Published: December 3, 2012
Burnham events group warns of cutbacks without extra funding

A community group which holds a series of free outdoor music events in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge each year has warned that its programme could be cut back without extra funding.

The Burnham and Highbridge Cultural Arts and Development Society (CADS) organises a series of popular summer concerts each year in Burnham's Manor Gardens, including Picnic In the Park and Jazz In The Park.

But Mike Murphy, the Chairman of CADS, right, has told a Town Council meeting that more funding is needed to avoid the number of events being reduced.

"Over the past 15 years we have brought a lot of culture to the town," he said. "Our events have progressively got bigger with exhibitions, family attractions and bars."

"This year, we've faced extra problems because of the wet conditions - our Jubilee Jazz event made a loss because of the weather and others have also been affected."

"We are also under pressure because performers are asking to be paid more, first aiders are now required at events and additional toilet facilities are also often needed. We also to replace gazebos and other capital equipment over time."

He warned: "It simply is not possible for us to run our usual programme of four events each year with £1,500 of council funding."

"We love running the events, but are faced with having to cut them back. It really is up to the Town Council to decide how we proceed."

Mayor Ken Smout told the meeting he supports an increase in grant funding.

"These events do a bring a lot to the town and are always excellent shows that are appreciated by residents and visitors alike," he said. "I am very supportive and would agree we should reappraise the amount."

Cllr Phil Harvey added: "These are excellent events and I'd agree we should re-visit the amount we give."

Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton proposed that the CADS grant be raised to £2,500 for 2013-14 and be revisited in a year's time - a recommendation that was unanimously backed. It will be considered at the next full Town Council meeting.


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