Carnival organisers seek funding to safeguard event’s long-term future

Portishead Carnival Royal Family 2017

Portishead Carnival Royal Family 2017 - Credit: Archant

Carnival organisers say they are touched by offers of help after its main sponsorship deal went sour.

Portishead carnival 4 of 4

Portishead carnival 4 of 4 - Credit: Archant

The Old Mill had partnered up with Portishead Carnival ahead of next month’s festival, but the plug was pulled on the deal amid a lack of responses from the High Street pub.

The venue’s future is unclear with shutters having been pulled down and rumours it has closed down.

Jemma Cooper and Wendy Watkins, who have run the event for nearly 20 years, say they have been approached by several individuals and organisations offering help since the story broke in last week’s Times and are hopeful some money can be raised to pay for upfront costs.

The pair said: “We are obviously very disappointed to have lost a major source of income at such short notice and so close to the event.

“It was also very disappointing to lose the chance of having an official carnival High Street presence given the size of the crowds that gather there.

“We do have a reserve in the bank but we have done some costings and the margins are very tight.

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“If we have bad weather and don’t raise much through our bucket collections it would put the whole event in jeopardy forever.

Portishead Carnival.

Portishead Carnival. - Credit: Archant

“We have been really touched by several offers of support and are really grateful to everyone who has come forward to help.

“We are working with those people to put a plan in place but we really are asking everyone to support us as much as possible. If everyone in Portishead put £1 in a bucket on carnival day it would mean we could carry on safe and secure into future years.”

The pair are also urging people to buy carnival programmes ahead of the big day as part of a fundraising drive.

Jemma said: “Our programmes are on sale door to door at homes in the town plus at Morgan Westley and Mark’s Barber Shop.

“They cost £2.50 and that admits a family of four to the show field where we have some great bands, DJs, a fair, food and a beer tent.

“It really would be wonderful if people would buy one and come to the carnival field to enjoy our entertainment.”

This year’s carnival will start at noon at the Lake Grounds on June 16 before heading down the High Street.