Events have put the “buzz” back in Penrith

Date: Friday 8th June 2018

Sir, I write with regard to your front page article (Herald, 26th May) regarding the threat to the Winter Droving due to a lack of funding.

As an organiser of town events, i.e. Penrith Goes Orange and Penrith on a Plate, may I say that funding is, has always been and will potentially continue to be an issue facing event organisers.

There are some who say that they should become self-sustainable over time but the true reality is that these are “free” town events and will always require a level of funding to ensure they happen.

This is not to say that those organising events should not seek funding from elsewhere — in fact they do.

Income is derived from various sources, e.g. stallholder fees, wristband schemes, etc, as well as sponsorship but, with regard to this, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain as businesses cut back on their commitments.

It is my view that what we need now is a discussion between organisers and funders to agree a long-term strategy over the future of town events. In this way we can avoid the potential loss of the Winter Droving and the other town events as well as look for new distinctive ones which have a clear unique selling point, all of which will continue to enhance Penrith as a destination of choice.

We need to decide do we want them, and if we do, how do the funders, organisers, potential sponsors, etc, all work together, in partnership, to make them happen.

It is a well-known fact that town events do work — they create a buzz and a vibrancy which people welcome; they increase footfall (both on the day and long-term) and they improve the economic viability of the town.

In my opinion the last six years has seen this “buzz” in Penrith. It is no coincidence that this is in line with the dramatic improvement in the number and variety of events which attract not only local people but visitors from all over the country as well as internationally.

It is my view that these need to be maintained, and not lost either from a lack of support or lack of strategic planning. Yours etc,

RICHARD UTTING

(Event organiser)

Penrith.