Morecambe Pride under threat after town council rejects funding bid

Morecambe Pride could be under threat after town councillors decided not to give financial support to the festival.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 4th July 2022, 12:56 pm
Members of the local Labour Party picketed Morecambe Town Council meeting on Thursday night.
Members of the local Labour Party picketed Morecambe Town Council meeting on Thursday night.

Equalities campaigners have expressed disappointment at the decision, which could stop the event going ahead as planned on July 30.

Robert Mee, chief executive of Out in the Bay, which organises the event, said: “I would strongly urge the council to reconsider. This is the third year we’ve run Morecambe Pride and it’s got bigger and better every year, attracting more visitors and showing the town as an open and equal place.

"The decision not to fund Pride reflects badly on Morecambe. We want our young people to be able to be proud of who they are and feel supported by their town.”

Morecambe Pride could be under threat this year.

In previous years Pride has received around £7,000 from Morecambe Town Council to contribute to the running of the festival.

Members of the Labour Party picketed Morecambe Town Council’s meeting on Thursday to raise their concerns.

Skerton East councillor Jean Parr said: “There is a council budget of £90,000 to support festivals in Morecambe. We know that these festivals are a staple on the calendars of people from across the north west and they bring money into our local businesses.

"Yet there’s no money for Pride, none for Vintage by the Sea and none for the Nice and Sleazy punk festival. The town council have taken on a festivals officer, yet no festivals seem to be getting any support! Where is the money going?”

Organisers say they have not been told why their application was turned down.

In the first quarter of this year, the council supported local events and festivals with £16,780 - including Catch the Wind Festival with a grant of £2,000, Morecambe Promenade Concert Orchestra with £2,590, West End Players with £5,000, Armed Forces Day £700, Escape to Make with £5,000 for a Winter Cabaret, and Morecambe Promenade Park Run with £1,490.

Morecambe Town Council chief executive Luke Trevaskis said: “The council has invested close to £100,000 in 2022-2023 to support the local economy through a programme of immersive events and festivals.

The council has employed its own events manager and has organised the ‘Spring into Morecambe’ festival, celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and regular street markets, with more exciting announcements to come.”

Festival and events committee chair Coun Tricia Heath said: “Awards for grant funding are assessed consistently on the strength of each application. Unsuccessful applications have usually failed to meet the criteria or not fully answered all of the questions on the application form.

"The council strives to support as many local organisations as it possibly can do and is keen to support festivals and events that aim to achieve self sustainability.”

Town council chairman Coun Cary Matthews added: “Some applications for funding have been unsuccessful recently. Subsequently, the council has received further information to strengthen two applications, and the council will be reconsidering these at a meeting on July 7.

"The council has a duty to protect public funds and each application is considered on its own merit within a 12-week time frame. Applicants are able to apply for a grant up to 18 months prior to their event, and outcomes are dependent on the information provided during the application process as opposed to how strongly members personally support the cause.”