Organisers have decided to press on with this year’s Rosneath Peninsula Highland Gathering, despite cuts in funding.
The Highland games in July is one of the biggest events of the year locally, but doubts were cast over its future after councillors voted to cut grant funding to almost half the level of last year
The event in 2015 was awarded £4,000 by Argyll and Bute Council, but this was cut to £3,000 in 2016 and just £1,680 this year – despite most other projects awarded cash by the new ‘supporting communities fund’ being given the full amount they had requested.
With sponsorship also reduced this year, there were fears that the event, which has been running for nearly 40 years and attracts competitors from all over the world, might not go ahead.
But this week organisers held a committee meeting and decided the July 17 event would go ahead – although the decision will be reviewed at the end of May depending on sponsorship and donations.
Anyone who might be able to help should email the games’ secretary Evelyn Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org
Council officials recommended the reduced grant at a Helensburgh and Lomond area committee meeting earlier this month as part of a £28,375 package of awards to 24 organisations.
Robert MacIntyre, chairman of the Rosneath games, declared an interest and could not vote, and an amendment by George Freeman to award £2,680 rather than £1,000, awarding no money to Welcome In, was defeated by five votes to three.
Afterwards Mr Freeman said: “Even although I told the area committee that we had been warned at the Rosneath and Clynder Community Council meeting that the Gathering may not be able to go ahead if only the reduced grant was approved, Gary Mulvaney and Ellen Morton were still happy to cut the funding for this important event.
“It was due to the serious threat to the Highland Gathering that I proposed awarding an additional £1,000 which would have brought the award up to £2,680, which would only have been £320 short of the funding that had been requested.”
Ellen Morton said there were three applications from Highland games and pipe band events and all were reduced in a comparable way.
She added: “It is very unusual for elected members not to go with the officer’s recommendations because the officer has worked closely with the groups and studied all the material connected to the application, which councillors have generally not done, so we are inclined to trust officers’ professional judgement in making assessments against the agreed policy criteria. We also have a policy to try to attract new applications and to reduce the allocation to repeat applications especially as the available budget reduces.
“Also any addition to one group meant a reduction to another group and in this case a new application which was described by the officer as scoring very high in comparison with any other on the table, was the one that would have seen a reduction.”