Thursday, 5 January 2012


Well it’s happened; something I have been expecting for some time today hit the press.

Cornwall Council withdraws all funding for Golowan.

For those who don’t know Golowan is the mid summer festival that takes place in Penzance each June. And it’s big and I mean BIG, 8 days of events, music, story telling, dance, workshops, church service, Mazey Day & Quay Fair day.

I know a fair bit about Golowan, as 6 years ago, when the original Golowan Organisation went bust, with the announcement made over the Christmas – New Year period, I was Mayor, during this period I received a phone call from one of the many Golowan volunteers asking what I thought could be done, this lead to a meeting between the two of us in the Mayors Parlour, on a wet and miserable afternoon, we discussed what we thought could be saved and what would have to go, would we be able to keep all the many 100’s  of volunteers on side?
The outcome was meetings with the volunteers and others to see where we could go. With just 6 months to the festival a lead body was needed and the Town Council stepped in, the council had always given a grant to the Organisation, but this was to be a different undertaking. To the many 1’000s who enjoyed that years Golowan  and others since, not a lot would have seemed to change, but it had and in fact had to. Since that time the Town Council has put more money and staff time into Golowan and remains today the lead body.

Today it’s announced that the Tory lead Cornwall Council has withdrawn its £27,000 funding for the festival. As with many headlines it is and isn’t true, in fact Visit Cornwall (a Cornwall Council body) withdrew half it’s funding last year, taking the grant down to £12,750, this year Cornwall Council have taken over this funding and has cut this remaining amount. Last year this funding gap was made up again by Penzance Town Council.

 This raises a couple of questions, firstly, why did Cornwall Council take over the funding from Visit Cornwall, well call me a cynic, but I think it’s because Visit Cornwall has blown it’s entire budget on “The Olympic Torch  Relay” cost at this time £150,000 and rising. So for a twenty minute run by someone through Penzance, giving very little or no benefit, an entire 8 days Festival is put in jeopardy.
The second question is who made this decision, I have searched & searched through Cornwall Councils minutes and can find no mention, was it made in Cabinet? By officers? Who?

Do, Cornwall Council have any idea at all of what the Golowan Festival is? Let me tell you a story, a few years back I stood on the steps of St Johns Hall, on Mazey Day, with an invited guest of the town, the deputy leader of the then Cornwall County Council, who I asked if he had been before, the answer was “No, I didn’t know it took place and just how big it is, but I will be coming to Quay Fair tomorrow with the family”.

Some would argue that in these times of belt tightening why should Cornwall Council pay a grant to a festival, this is something I have blogged about before, so will not repeat myself. Read here Lights

But if it just comes down to money, which everything does, read this report, prepared last year for Visit Cornwall on the impact Golowan has on the local economy. Golowan

The Tory’s know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

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