Sunday 5 June 2011

Brent Council Snuffs out the Lights

From Brent Council's website (last year)
Petitioners will be at the June 13th Executive to protest at the cuts of funding for festivals. They include 5,000 signatures to save Navratri and 110 to Save the St Patrick's Day Parade.

The Executive will vote on a 'no faith funding' approach that will even see the Christmas lights go out. In an ominous echo of David Cameron's strictures on the 'divisiveness'  of 'multiculturalism' the Council proposes to fund events which are 'inclusive of the whole diverse Brent Community' including a new 'Brent Celebrates' event.  However in the same paper it says that the new Civic Centre performance area and that of the rebuilt Willesden Green hub (if it goes ahead) will showcase Brent's diversity. Didn't Navratri etc do that? Is Guy Fawke's Night inclusive?

To be fair to the Council here is their justification for the preferred policy option:
Cease delivery of any faith-based events and deliver a reduced programme
Deliver one Brent Celebrates event (which is anticipated to be an event attracting up to 30,000 people) and continue to provide fireworks night and Holocaust Memorial Day. The council would also work with others in the community, to provide advice and guidance to resident groups to promote festivals and events they may identify.

This would mean the council ceasing its current events for Chanukah, St Patrick’s Day, Eid, Diwali, Christmas, St George’s Day, LGBT Month, International Women’s Day. It would also no longer fund Navrati or the Christmas/festive lights.

This option would enable the council to build on the support already provided to a number of events, festivals and activities delivered by community groups which is currently working well. This would meet the requirements identified in the Brent Cultural Strategy 2010-2015 of providing a key leadership role in developing partnerships with cultural providers. This support could include advice and, where appropriate, training. Savings of approximately £270,000 would be achieved in the first year. The consultation feedback does not oppose this option and does support festivals and activities that bring all communities together.

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