Extra £116,000 approved for Derry festivals and events
Additional funding of £116,000 to support festival and event programming within Derry City and Strabane district has been described as a ‘massive vote of confidence’ for the local arts and culture sector.
Members of the Business and Culture Committee gave their approval following discussions on the funding for Culture Grant Aid programmes including Cultural Organisations, Heritage Animation, Access Programme for Cultural Organisations, Headline Events, Community Festivals and the Artist & Cultural Practitioner Award for the coming year.
Council's Head of Culture, Aeidin McCarter, explained that there were a number of events that remained unfunded within the existing budget, and it was proposed that through savings accrued by the festival and events team during the pandemic, as well as other anticipated in-year savings, that an additional £116,116 could be allocated to these events that have met the threshold for this year only.
This funding will help aid the Covid recovery and support the unprecedented number of quality events in the coming year.
SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell said: “It recognises the enormous value we place on individuals, groups and organisations from Culmore to Castlederg and that’s apparent in the grant allocation that we are giving to these groups and individuals which totals nearly £700k.
“The funding allocation will help deliver an exciting programme of events and festivals in the coming year which will enhance the cultural offerings for local residents and will help attract tourists as well.”
Thanking the council team for their work in preparing the report, Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle referred to one particular group saying: “It’s very welcome to see that Feis Doire Colmcille will have been allocated around £10,000 and that’s obviously arising from the motion I put forward that was unanimously backed at Full Council very recently.”
Committee Chair, Councillor Conor Heaney interrupted the Ballyarnett elected representative to say: “Councillor Doyle there is a reason these papers are anonymised and I’d appreciate it if you don’t name individual groups on a public meeting.”
Members of all parties welcomed the funding for the arts and culture sector before the recommendation to award the additional funding passed unanimously.