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Caribbean Carnival, Navratri and Dashera festivals facing cuts in Leicester City Council grants


A number of festivals and events are set to have their council funding cut or removed completely.

Leicester's Caribbean Carnival, the Navratri and Dashera celebrations and Humberstone Park Bonfire could be affected as the city council looks to cut the amount it spends on celebrations from £366,500 to £308,500 next year.

The amount will be reduced to £288,500 in 2014.

The city council yesterday revealed the results of its festivals and events funding review following a 12-week consultation.

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby will now have the final decision on whether to approve the cuts.

Councillors were due to discuss the changes last night.

The Navratri celebration organised by Leicester Hindu Festivals Council at De Montfort Hall, will see its council grant cut by half, from £20,000 to £10,000.

About 2,000 people had signed a petition against the potential cut, arguing it would make it impossible to run the event.

Festival council president Maganbhai Patel said he had been anticipating the 50 per cent cut.

He said: "I do not know if we will be able to continue.

"Hindus will be very upset about this because it looks like the city council does not support a very large section of the Leicester community."

The Caribbean Carnival currently gets £100,000 from the council towards its £200,000 costs.

The grant will fall to £80,000 next year and £60,000 the year after.

The Dashera event at Cossington recreation ground, in Belgrave, will lose its entire £6,000. Humberstone Bonfire will also lose all of its £16,000 funding.

Sir Peter said he valued all the city's celebrations but said: "It is a fact my assistant mayors and I sometimes have to make hard decisions. We wont be afraid of doing that.

"There are some celebrations that would happen with or without the council's assistance.

"Navratri, for example, is celebrated at smaller events and the necessity for input from the council is less than it was.

"The Caribbean Carnival will receive support more comparable with that given to similar events in other cities."

For some events, however, the review promises good news.

The council is proposing its grant to Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival is increased from £18,500 to £23,500 next year.

Castle Park festival will be re-branded and widened out as part of a city centre August bank holiday festival. No budget has been decided for this.

Sir Peter said: "The comedy festival brings a return to the city of several million pounds so we are increasing our support of that.

"We also recognise the importance of Diwali and are keeping our £80,000 contribution to that.

"In a process like this there will be winners and losers.

"I can say the amount of expenditure on festivals overall will not be significantly different in coming years."

Spark Children's Arts Festival, Leicester International Music Festival, Riverside Festival, Abbey Park bonfire and firework display, the Christmas lights switch-on, Black History Month, St George's Day celebrations, Leicester Belgrave Mela and the Diwali switch-on and Diwali Day will all maintain their funding.

Caribbean Carnival, Navratri and Dashera festivals facing cuts in Leicester City Council grants

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