Charities plead case for Party on the Parade

Revellers enjoy the sunshine at Party on the Parade in 2012.

Revellers enjoy the sunshine at Party on the Parade in 2012.

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The chair of one of the charities behind Berwick’s Party on the Parade has implored the town council, “please help us to help the town”.

Berwick Rotary Club and the North Northumberland Fundraising Group for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research - which organise the annual street party in front of the Barracks - have pleaded their case after the town council revealed it may not fund this year’s event.

Appealing to the town council’s events committee last week, representatives from both charities said the party could not continue without its financial input.

Rotary chair Simon Landels attracted locals and visitors alike in 2012 and 2013, and was successful in bringing the ‘feel good’ factor to Berwick.

“Party on the Parade took a lot of organising,” Mr Landels said. “It was very successful and attracted a large number of people, both to the event, and to the town in general.”

He added that both charities had been disappointed to learn, via the press, that funding may not be forthcoming for this year’s event.

Helen Tait, chair of the North Northumberland Fundraising Group, said: “After the first Party on the Parade we all vowed not to do it again because it had been such a massive amount of work. It was only after Councillor Robertson asked the Rotary if they would do it again to help resurrect the May Fair that we agreed to take on the massive task.

“There are two reasons why we volunteered to do the street party. One, to give locals and visitors a really good day with the feel good factor, which in turn helps the local economy; and two, to raise money for our respective charities.”

Addressing the events committee, which will decided whether to allocate funding for this year’s event next month, she warned: “We had hoped to make this year’s event much bigger and better, but this won’t be possible without your support.”

Mrs Tait insisted that the biggest winners from the Party on the Parade were the people of Berwick. “The town and its people need a major event like this which helps put Berwick back on the map,” she said. “Please help us to help the town.”

Coun Phil Elliot, who represents Magdalene ward, commented that although the charities had done “an amazing job”, the council had to be careful not to set a precedent. “Other organisations that have come to us have been asked that in the second and third year they become self sufficient,” he said. “If we did this, and didn’t treat it the same as we did everybody else then it’s not fair.”

But Lower Spittal councillor Hazel Bettison said: “This is a bit different because we asked for it, and these were the only two organisations who came forward. I think this council should be supporting the running costs.”

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