Council relents over threat to town’s Christmas festival funding

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New Milton Christmas Festival
New Milton Town Council agreed a £2,500 grant for the annual festivities

THIS year’s New Milton Christmas Festival will once again benefit from a £2,500 funding boost from the town council – despite its organisers failing to provide requested financial details.

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Disappointment was expressed at the latest full council meeting that records of income and expenditure had still not been received from New Milton Town Partnership, which had applied for up to £3,500 of grant aid towards the popular event.

However, members acknowledged it was a valuable attraction in the town’s calendar and agreed that £2,500 be donated from the events budget – the same as recent years.

It was also agreed that another request be made to NMTP for its audited accounts, although town clerk Graham Flexman pointed out those for 2019 may not have yet been filed.

As reported in the A&T, the council’s finance and general purposes committee deferred its decision on NMTP’s application earlier this year pending delivery of the accounts. This was sparked by the fact the group was asking for £1,000 extra this year.

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.

When the requested details were not received by September’s F&GP meeting, members agreed the usual £2,500 should be awarded if they were made available by the next full council meeting.

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 previously 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.”

A donation of the youth budget’s remaining £12,000 towards local charity ASBOC’s continuing activities for 11 to 17-year-olds was also approved, having been put on hold pending accounts.

Members of the full town council agreed that all grant aid applications must be presented with all accompanying documents requested by the application criteria.

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