Diwali celebrations get more cash, as two festivals drop off the council’s funding list
Diwali, the two-week festival of lights that is Leicester’s showcase winter extravaganza, is to receive £20,000 increase in city council grant. It’s the big winner in a review of the council’s funding of festivals. Most grants are frozen, with two of the smaller ones, Navrati and the Braunstone carnival, losing funding altogether.
Leicester residents are being asked their views on the proposals, effective from April 2016, which will see the total spend on festivals remain at just over £380,000.
The review report, presented by Liz Blyth, director of culture and neighbourhood services, says attendances at Navrati, a Hindu festival of nine nights of community dancing, have been falling. Given that other Navrati events are organised across the city, the £20,000 funding for the De Montfort Hall event is being pulled. Navrati also falls outside the council’s preferred funding criteria, being religious and for one faith only. The Christian-based Leicester at the Cross, retains £2,500 for a temporary big screen in Humberstone Gate for 2017 only.
The other loser is the Braunstone carnival, whose £500 grant is being withdrawn on the grounds that the event is only local and has other sources of funding.
The Christmas lights switch-on, which has been expanding in recent years, drawing estimated crowds of 25,000, gains an extra £500 on its grant.
The council assessed spending on the basis of value for money in bringing economic and social benefit to Leicester citizens. The emphasis is on big events that bring people from outside the area, preferably to spend money in the city.
Proposed spending for festivals directly delivered by the council is now £229,000 a year, with £155,5000 earmarked to support those run by other organisations.