Town’s Christmas festival faces funding threat over accounts questions

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New Milton Christmas Festival
The New Milton Christmas Festival is a popular event in the town’s calendar

THE organisers of the New Milton Christmas Festival could miss out on £2,500 of funding if they fail to provide town councillors with details of their accounts.

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Frustration was expressed by the council’s finance and general purposes committee that New Milton Town Partnership had still not provided income and expenditure details after applying for up to £3,500 towards the popular annual event.

As reported in the A&T, the decision had already been deferred pending the supply of accounts when committee members noted the bid was £1,000 up on the sum they had approved in past years.

Partnership chairman John Evans had told the council it relied on existing funds, grants and other donations to keep the festival running to a reasonable standard.

This year’s event is due to feature a Christmas market with crafts, gifts and continental cuisine, entertainment, and an illuminated evening parade in the town centre on Saturday 30th November.

Cllr Steve Clarke said: “I fully support this event at Christmas and would want it to go ahead, but we have a duty of care and due diligence to ensure our taxpayers’ money is being spent properly.”

Members agreed to a proposal that the usual £2,500 be released to the town partnership if the required information is received by the next full council meeting on Monday 30th September.

The same condition was made regarding local youth charity ASBOC’s bid for funding towards continuing activities for 11 to 17-year-olds. A total cost of £17,602 was quoted.

Noting there were no further requests for funding from the youth grant pot, the committee agreed its remaining £12,000 could be donated once the accounts details have been provided.

Bicycle repair and recycling scheme The New Forest Bike Project, based at IncuHive in Old Milton Road, requested £1,000 towards its work supporting disadvantaged people.

Ruling it did good work in the area, the committee agreed to recommend the scheme receive £500 – the maximum amount it can donate to each applicant from its grant aid pot.

Victim Support Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s application for £400 from the grant aid pot was also backed by members.

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