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Stop the negativity for the good of the town
3:04pm Thursday 26th July 2012 in Letters
I must reply to Councillor Ridgway’s remarks about The Ilkley Summer Festival Ltd reported last week.
Yes we (the directors of Ilkley Summer Festival Ltd) are unpaid amateurs, as are many of the people who run various events during the festival. We are not in a financial position to have paid employees. Indeed, I am quite sure Coun Ridgway would have upbraided us if we had! What we do do is get off our butts and make things happens. We are doers, not talkers!
Yes, we are enthusiastic. It was our enthusiasm that produced the festival in the first place, and has delivered ten successive festivals. Without us:
- Ilkley’s Yorkshire Day would not have progressed to a position where it has featured on television for six consecutive years
- the street market would not have been an event that visitors come to year after year
- the Last Night Proms concert would never have happened.
The festival requested a grant, not small business advice. We know where our weaknesses lie, primarily too few of us.
Coun Ridgway, stop the negativity and risk undermining the integrity of the festival. Come on, and let us get to business – producing once more a festival for the good of the town and for visitors to enjoy.
Anne Hawkesworth, Director, The Ilkley Summer Festival Ltd
Dismayed by ‘attack’ on our organisation
It was with dismay that I read the front page this week only to find that an organisation that I had been involved with since its inception, had had it’s reputation decimated by a member of Ilkley Parish Council, whom the festival had recently asked for funds.
Like all applicants, the grant form was completed correctly and the documents requested duly delivered to the town hall. One member of the organisation did, however, attend two awards meetings where she was ‘interrogated’ by the members present and left feeling very humiliated.
The general public need to be aware that the summer festival is a company limited by guarantee, which means that all funding raised goes back into the project and no-one gets paid, in other words a ‘social enterprise’, which is what the Government likes to call it.
A few committed people run this festival, an umbrella organisation for a number of events that take place during August when, otherwise, there would be very little to do as many organisations close down for the summer break.
How appalling for a member of Ilkley Parish Council to lambaste this organisation in full council and describe this small band of volunteers as “a bunch of well-intentioned amateurs”. I would suggest that Councillor Ridgeway looks at his own organisation, which chose to raise the parish precept to £20,000 for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations – and spent it on what? – before he launches into such arrogant criticism. What did the parish spend the £20,000 on?
Perhaps the parish council would like to explain how this money has been spent – we look forward to receiving “a draft out-turn”. Unlike the adjoining towns and villages, Ilkley was devoid of any form of decoration and, once again, the public had to put up with, yes, a brass band.
In giving the grant, the parish council has put on certain conditions. One is that the summer festival should change its registered office from the town hall. I would remind the parish council that it is not within its gift to request this change, and in any event, it does not own the town hall – Bradford Council does. It requests a list of directors. This list is within the Memorandum and Articles of Association delivered with the application. I would ask the rude and arrogant Coun Ridgeway to explain who the “sacred old cows are that should be knocked on the head”. At this point, I must insist on an unequivocal public apology. Coun Ridgeway’s inference on ageism is unacceptable, particularly from a person in his position.
To think that the town has a council being run by untrained misinformed and “well-intentioned” amateurs is disappointing and perhaps it should look at how it can make improvements to its own administration before showering criticism on others who try to bring some pleasure to the residents of the town.
ME Bailey, Director, Ilkley Summer Festival Limited
Councillors must ensure money is spent wisely
I would like to write in a personal capacity to expand upon your report on the front page of the Ilkley Gazette last week.
As vice-chairman of the awards and projects committee of the parish council and the proposer of the motion to continuing funding the summer festival, I feel I can equally report on some of the administrative and organisational aspects that need improvement.
A primary objective of being an elected councillor is to protect the public purse and ensure that ‘precept’ paid by the residents of the town is spent wisely and in accordance to our rules and general legislative regulations.
The funding for this event is largely from public funds which is a feature that needs to be examined for future years with other sources of funding considered and I know colleagues on the parish council are investigating other possible options. As an event it is managed by Ilkley Summer Festival Limited which as a private company brings with it the responsibilities and obligations that go with this legal entity.
This includes the preparation of understandable accounts and an updated listing of directors and their details correctly recorded at Companies House.
In addition there is the need for a proper registered office that does not incur further support from parish council facilities at the town hall and lastly the correct submission of data to HMRC in order to avoid the payment of unnecessary penalties and fines that go with non-compliance.
The parish council has also stipulated that the festival company provide to the council a set of draft ‘pro-forma’ accounts for the current year within two months of the conclusion of the summer festival in order to see how the funds have been used.
It is sometimes painful for established organisations to change their ways of doing things but in order for the summer festival to continue successfully into the future with both public and private funding a fresh look at the administrative systems and organisational methods is required, along with the need to avoid clashes with other events including those of the parish council that take place within and around the same period of time.
Mike Ridgway, Ghyll Wood, Ilkley
High-profile MP is often focus of media attention
Is Greg Mulholland MP ill? – perhaps he is suffering from over-exposure. After last week’s five-photo extravaganza I can find no photos of him in this week’s Wharfedale Observer (unless that is he in the background on page 2).
It used to be Otley’s town mayor that got his or her photograph in the paper every week, but now Greg seems to dominate – perhaps you should have a competition to guess how many times he appears over the year?
At least he is an active MP, taking an interest in the many aspects and projects of the area (see picture on facing page).
Jeff Utley, Bradford Road, Otley
Cricket club benefactor will be greatly missed
Along with many organisations and individuals, Ilkley Cricket Club was a grateful beneficiary of the generosity of the late Peter Marshall. He was the club president for the last 13 years and in that role he provided wisdom and a sense of fun in equal measure.
He was not one to bask in the glory and honour of the position but became fully involved in all aspects of the club. When necessary he would assist in getting small grants for the club but was equally at ease behind the scenes being involved in the physical chores necessary to run a cricket club.
The recent refurbishment of the clubhouse is a lasting testament to illustrate the drive and initiative that has driven the club forward. He will be sadly missed by all within our local cricketing fraternity.
Brian Wheeler, Secretary, Ilkley Cricket Club, Hall Close, Burley-in-Wharfedale
Lollipop man’s thank-you for children’s choccy gift
At lunchtime I received a lovely surprise when I attended God’s own lunch spot, otherwise known as the Cornerstone Cafe, Menston Methodist Church. When I ordered my meal I was passed a lovely box of Maltesers in grateful thanks for my being the lollipop man at our local primary school.
It was from a couple of thoughtful youngsters named Ruby and James, unfortunately I cannot just place them and the volunteers on duty could not help me, so, hoping that their mum and dad take your paper, may I thank them through the medium of your letters’ page. Thank You Ruby and James for your kind action.