Agenda item

South Hams Festival


E 97/23            

The Executive was presented with a report that sought Member support for the delivery and funding of a South Hams Arts and Culture festival in 2025.


In discussion, the following points were raised:


(a)    To underline the commitment of the Council, a number of Members welcomed the intention to develop an Arts and Culture Strategy for adoption;


(b)   Whilst in its infancy as a proposal, the majority of Members felt that the proposal was worthy of further exploratory works being undertaken prior to a final decision being taken by the Executive in the Autumn;


(c)    In acknowledging that the proposal was in its early stages, Members made the following suggestions to be given consideration:


o  The ability to develop closer linkages with the existing Villages in Action organisation;

o  The need to give emphasis to the provision of events for young people;

o  The ability to achieve revenue via a crowdfunder campaign; and

o  The ability to make better use of the local Town Markets;


(d)   Some Members stated that their support at this time was conditional on the Festival being a truly South Hams wide event.  To that end, a Member stated that there must be a tangible benefit to all town and parish councils before they were asked to make a contribution to the event;


(e)   The importance of all local Ward Members being able to champion such an event amongst all of their local town and parish councils was emphasised.  In expanding upon the point, the view was expressed that the success of the proposal was wholly dependent upon the enthusiasm and drive of all local Ward Members;


(f)     At the request of the meeting, the Section 151 Officer informed that, if ultimately approved, the Festival would be held during the summer of 2025 with any budgetary implications therefore falling within the 2025/26 Financial Year.  For clarity regarding the wish to secure a minimum of 50% of the funding through local partners, a minor amendment to part 2 of the recommendation was PROPOSED, SECONDED and when put to the vote declared CARRIED as follows:


2. to underwrite the cost of the festival in its first year up to the value of £32,500, in anticipation of a minimum of 50% of the £65,000 funding being secured through local partners;


(g)    As a word of caution, a Member summarised some of the risks that she foresaw as follows:


o  The budgetary position of the partner organisation and the need to look closely at its make-up;

o  The potential to upset and alienate existing volunteer groups who were already running very successful community events;

o  The timing of a final decision and how that would tie-in with town and parish councils setting their respective precepts and the timing of other external funding applications; and

o  The lack of existing officer capacity to support what would be in excess an additional piece of work that was not included in the Council Plan.


In reply, the lead Member recognised that the proposal was not without risk and stated that the purpose of presenting the matter to this meeting was to ascertain whether there was Member support at this stage to continue to work on the proposal.  He also stated that, assuming there was Executive support for the principle of an Arts Festival, then further meetings would take place to go through the detail of the proposal and address the points that Members had raised in this debate.


It was then:




1.    That the development of a South Hams Arts and Culture Strategy and Festival (to be delivered in the summer of 2025) be supported;


2.    That, in anticipation of a minimum of 50% of the £65,000 funding being secured through local partners, the cost of the festival be underwritten in its first year up to the value of £32,500; and


3.    That the funding be found from within the Year 2 (2025-26) Delivery Plan allocation.


Supporting documents: