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Councillors complained a little that particular events in their own wards had not been supported, but in the end they approved a plan to help fund 12 events and festivals for 2019/20.
The events chosen by Argyll and Bute Council will share £113,000 of funding aimed at increasing the appeal of Argyll and Bute as a ‘world-class tourist destination’.
A total of 21 bids, totalling £221,060, were received towards the £113,000 fund – which offers small grants of up to £5,000 and large grants of more than £5,000.
Council officers prioritised applications that demonstrated ‘the best return on public investment, promotional value to Argyll and Bute and a good range of effects for the local economy’.
Adding to the area’s visitor and tourism offer was another vital component in the judging process.
No event received 100 per cent of its funding and each application demonstrated that match funding was available.
As the plan was agreed at the council’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting on December 13, Bute councillor Jim Findlay spoke for music festival ButeFest, which was unsuccessful in its bid, saying that it brought in £250,000 for the island. He added: ‘If we’re going to grow events, we need to nurture them. Bute needs your help.’
Councillor Sandy Taylor welcomed the council’s approach to funding, but voiced concern that Inveraray Highland Games organisers may not have known they could apply to the fund.
In reply, Fergus Murray, the council’s head of economic development, said: ‘We made every effort to make everyone aware. There was a good response and many new applicants.’
Councillor Elaine Robertson said that many volunteers running not-for-profit events would be disappointed at not receiving council support, to which Mr Murray replied: ‘This was a very difficult task, and we recognise the value of volunteers. But I hear what you say and we’ll take this on board.’
Small grant fund – under £5,000
West Highland Yachting Week – £3,600
Tarbert Scottish Series – £2,160
H&I Music and Dance Festival – £5,000
Isle of Jura Music Festival – £2,880
Helensburgh Winter Festival – £5,000
Bute Noir – £3,500
Large grant fund – over £,5000
Mull of Kintyre Music and Arts Festival – £7,920
Cowal Highland Gathering – £49,107.60
The Oban Games – Argyllshire Gathering – £3,600
Tiree Music Festival – £12,500
Oban Live – £15,000
Argyll Rally (Dunoon Presents) – £2,732.40