Can carnival still be saved?

Eastleigh Stevens Funfair 2011

Stevens Funfair is a popular attraction during Carnival week

A meeting is taking place tonight in an attempt to stage an eleventh hour rescue of Eastleigh’s annual carnival. The popular crowd pulling procession– the highlight of a week fundraising events – has fallen victim to rising costs , shortage of funds and a lack of volunteers, the same cocktail of woes that has caused many town carnivals to fold over the years.

Eastleigh’s carnival is due to celebrate it 125 anniversary this year and has raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

Carnival Association Chairman Penny Alford, writing on the Carnival association website, blamed a lack of interest saying that youngsters regarded the carnival as ‘uncool’.

Eastleigh Local Area Committee have previously given the event financial support and organisers have been attending a meeting at Eastleigh’s Civic Offices chaired by Cllr Chris Thomas – who defends his Eastleigh South seat in the local elections next week and is also Chair of ELAC – in an attempt to work out some way of rescuing this summer’s festivities.

In 2009 local businessman, undertaker Paul Capper, stepped in and saved the carnival with a £4K donation.

Eastleigh’s millionaire MP Chris Huhne told the Daily Echo:

 “This is very sad news for the town. Eastleigh Carnival was due to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year and it is a great shame that this fantastic community event won’t make it to this historic landmark.”

Over the years the carnival has been racked by its share of problems and has supplied Eastleigh Daily Echo hacks with it’s share of headlines

A short history of Eastleigh Carnival:

2009 Eastleigh carnival facing axe

“We have decided that we would try one more time this year but if it fails this time then it will be the last carnival procession that Eastleigh will have.”

2009 Undertaker saves carnival

Paul Capper chucks £4k into the pot

2008 Carnival is finally saved!

Once again.

2006 Police fees rethink

Carnival is saved again after Police reduce their fees

2002  carnival committee  “stabbed in the back” by Eastleigh council.

Keith House: “They seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick”

2001 Carnival cry for help

Eastleigh Carnival committee has issued an SOS plea for volunteers

2001 Carnival rescued!

…and finds them!

2000 Carnival needs crowds urgently

“a question mark still hangs over the long-term future of the 113-year-old event as ticket sales for the week’s shows fail to hit the mark”

1999 Carnival crisis averted at last minute

Carnival princess drops out last minute!

 

 

  9 comments for “Can carnival still be saved?

  1. Stuart Jebbitt
    April 27, 2012 at 8:28 am

    In 2009 local businessman, undertaker Paul Capper, stepped in and saved the carnival with a £4,000 donation yet in the very same year, Eastleigh Tax payers picked up a bill of £800,000 to cover overspend on the Point Arts Centre!
    I have to hand it to Cllr Thomas, he has got a brass neck to save the carnival now (just before the election, if one wishes to be cynical), when EBC could have easily secured the future of the Carnival years ago, by giving it a yearly grant and asking the Point to work with the carnival committee and help co-ordinate it. After all, what is an local Arts centre for exactly – if not to be involved in the local community?

  2. April 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

    In 2009 local businessman, undertaker Paul Capper, stepped in and saved the carnival with a £4,000 donation yet in the very same year, Eastleigh Tax payers picked up a bill of £800,000 to cover overspend on the Point Arts Centre!
    I have to hand it to Cllr Thomas, he has got a brass neck to save the carnival now (just before the election, if one wishes to be cynical), when EBC could have easily secured the future of the Carnival years ago, by giving it a yearly grant and asking the Point to work with the carnival committee and help co-ordinate it. After all, what is an local Arts centre for exactly — if not to be involved in the local community?

    Is it just me or is this the voice of reason speaking at last in Eastleigh? How true that Mr Thomas now decides to help the carnival when his seat, and only income, is at risk from a voter backlash. What a shame Mr Thomas did not have the balls to object to The PointLESS planning application for an extension, that saw an historic tree cut down and part of the Recreation Ground stolen from local people, but allowed The PointLESS to sting local people for a further £800,000.00 over spend on top of the £130,000 yearly donation from local tax payers to keep the doors open. Obscene and very scheming Mr Thomas, time for you to feel the wrath of local people through the ballot box. VOTE GREEN Eastleigh if you really care about your town. PLEASE.!!!

  3. Anne Romaine
    April 27, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Being an Eastleigh Borough Councillor isn’t Chris Thomas’s only income Matthew. He’s also getting an allowance for being a Hampshire County Councillor. I also see he’s put his name up for Bishopstoke Parish Council.

  4. Chris Thomas
    April 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    How sad that commentators see this as political. I have been involved with the Carnival for a number of years and have helped where I can. It is true to say that I am saddened that the carnival committee asked for help this year and little came forward, BUT, a number of people have come forward with offers of help since the carnival committee made their announcement.

    I will do what I can as an individual, not a councillor, to see the tradition caried forward into the future to ensure that the pleasure that it gave my children will be there for future generations.

    If, instead of inane comments those who criticise wish to come forward with offers of help, I am sure they will be welcomed.

    • J Morris
      April 30, 2012 at 9:24 am

      I think the point being made is the lack of funding is seen as political not the carnival itself. It grieves me that the Council can never see that these sort of events are beneficial to the Borough in many ways. It encourages a sense of community and well being; raises money for charity and brings in welcome extra trade for hard pressed businesses. It strikes me that the Council rarely considers this and is sorely missing a business brain amongst their Councillors.

      As for Cllr Thomas stating that other people’s comments are ‘inane’ (dictionary definition: unintelligent, senseless and unimaginative), this perfectly illustrates the arrogance and condescending nature of the people making decisions over us.

      Could Cllr Thomas list his personal contributionin to the Carnival (in terms of bucket collection; entering his children etc) over the years here please? And before you ask – yes I have helped with many events in my local community.

  5. Stephen Slominski
    April 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Well, the carnival is certainly worth saving, it’s important to the town and it’s refreshing to hear Cllr Thomas undertake not to make political capital from the issue should it get a last minute reprieve.

    As can be seen from the links above it has been teetering on the brink for some time so perhaps the council should consider some sort of permanent funding arrangement as other posters suggest?

    After all if the council can fork out £60,000 to sponsor a UK tour by an obscure Polish theatre company (not to mention borrow millions to bail out the county cricket team)surely it can also sponsor the Carnival?
    What’s wrong with that?

    • Chris Thomas
      April 30, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Stephen, I assume from your comments that you will support whatever is put on!! I suspect that due to the time available, any procession is likely to be much smaller this year but we are looking at other things. I have had discussions with others, from inside and outside the usual groups. ELAC has provided financial support over the years although funding is always difficult.

      I would expect that whatever comes from discussions will be different, something new. Time will tell.

  6. April 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Whilst I may have been a little disingenuous to Cllr Thomas in my ‘brass neck’ comment, my point is still a valid one I feel. This could be a real win-win situation if the Point (Arts centre) was an integral part of the revived Carnival. Using their expertise in drama, dance, et al, they could help update the carnival and attract the kind of carnival artists who take part in carnivals all over the country – we could then have Eastleigh’s answer to the Hat Fair. The Point could shake off the image that many Eastleigh residents have of them, one of being a bit ‘high art’ and aloof.
    The Carnival has been struggling for several years now, with a small group of dedicated volunteers soldiering on. I have helped where I can – I ran costume workshops in 2009, 2010 and last year, and have also taken part myself several times with my learning disability group.
    Rather than the end, This could now be a fresh start, and an opportunity to update of the whole format. I hope you can persuade your colleagues that the Carnival matters – because it’s one of the few events we have that creates a genuine feel good factor in the town.

  7. Poff resident
    April 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    An excellent suggestion by Mr Jebbitt and the Berry could do the same for Hedge End’s failing carnival.

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