Praise for £412,000 funding boost for events programme in Hartlepool

The Waterfront Festival at Jackson's Landing, Hartlepool, last year
The Waterfront Festival at Jackson's Landing, Hartlepool, last year

Plans to release £412,000 from the Civic Lottery Fund to host events in Hartlepool over the next five years has been praised by councillors.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee approved the plan to release the funds for cultural events in the area which could be ‘at risk’ if more money is not found.

The move would also see the gradual reduction in ward-member budget top-ups until they stop in 2021.

Councillors praised the impact events have had in the area already and want to see this continue to grow in the coming years.

Coun Kevin Cranney said: “One of our main economic strengths is tourism  and it’s been nice to see over the last couple of years particularly with events like the Waterfront Festival.

“In the future we need to look at jobs created from that.

“The benefits to local businesses, particularly in Seaton, are astronomical.”

Coun Brenda Harrison said: “We have some fantastic attributes and assets and we need the kind of events to show them off.

“Hartlepool has a tradition of being very cultural and a lot of talent has come out of Hartlepool.

“We have got to have events to grow and support people in the area.”

An example of the success of events in the area put forward was The Glass Ceiling event held recently in Ward Jackson Park to mark 100 years since the first British women were given the right to vote.

Coun Mike Young said: “The event at Ward Jackson Park shows what an appetite there is for these events.

“We need to try and use that as a stimulus to grow the town, get people enjoying themselves and to create jobs.

“A lot can be said for the doom and gloom around but people really want to get involved with these projects out there”

Historically the council has held the Civic Lottery Fund capital in trust and only utilised the interest, as previously use was restricted by the Secretary of State.

However this has since changed and now council chiefs want to use the fund to contribute towards staff costs and the delivery of the events programme over the next five years.

In previous years the interest was used to “top-up” the existing ward member budgets by £500 per member, but it is proposed to utilise the capital for the events programme.

As the focus of the Civic Lottery Fund gradually shifts, it will provide ward member budget top-ups of £300 in 2019/20 and £200 in 2020/21, after which no more will take place.

Council officers also said they would be continuing to look at securing sponsorship for future events to help boost funds.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service