Gala day funding restored to communities

Councillor Alec Clark
Councillor Alec Clark

Gala day grants for community groups are back as councillors have voted to allocate £20,000 to its events funding at their recent full council meeting.

The funding was agreed following a Conservative councillor’s motion, then an amendment from a ruling SNP/Labour/Independent group member - a sequence of events which one councillor said was ‘a bit ironic and a bit contemptuous given the fact that the Conservatives are the ones that brought the gala day funding cuts in’.

Councillors admitted the funding is probably too late for this year’s galas however Girvan independent councillor Alec Clark, who is a member of the SNP/Labour/Independent ruling group, said the gala day funding would be back in the budget next year.

The cut to gala day support was brought in by the previous Conservative administration amidst widespread protest from groups around Carrick. The move was to have saved £15,000 from the council budget.

At the first meeting of the council following the local government elections earlier this year Conservative councillor Hugh Hunter proposed a motion to reinstate the grounds maintenance events budget and increase it to the sum of £30,000 to allow stalls and other equipment to be provided, erected and removed at no cost to local groups organising community events. That motion was rejected but an amendment was forwarded for funding of £20,000 which was agreed.

Councillor Alec Clark said: “It was a bit ironic and a bit contemptuous given the fact that the Conservatives are the ones that brought these cuts in.

“However the important thing is that the budget efficiency which took away funding from gala days has been reversed which I think is really, really important.

“Rural communities had been dismayed and really felt unsupported and left by the wayside. Communities were dragged through the mud. They also had to go through the public processes panel, which was a chance for councillors to accept that the decision was wrong and they failed to do so.

“At that point Councillor Hunter had the chance to reverse the decision and tried, to me, be contemptuous in the face of that and put forward his motion to support rural galas after having refused to do so while in power.

“This ruling group will support our communities, we will make sure that everyone has a full and equitable chance to reach their full potential, this is not just for the few but for everyone.”

Mr Clark added that the working arrangement between the SNP, Labour and independent groups on the council is ‘working well’ and there will be meetings next month to discuss ways to move forward with policies.

“We will have new policies which will be different to the previous administration and will line out the strategy for the way ahead. We will support our communities and the vulnerable in our communities.”