Welcome to your local community website...
Volunteers needed for Rickmansworth Festival after council funding axed
RICKMANSWORTH Festival organisers have made an impassioned plea for volunteers after revealing their funding will be slashed in the next two years.
As reported in the Gazette, a record-breaking 30,000 people attended this year's two-day event, the 57th of its kind, on May 21 and 22.
Children and adults alike enjoyed entertainment including performances by 20 bands, fairground rides, a petting zoo, dozens of stalls, a canal boat display and tug of war.
Planning for next year's festival is due to begin shortly.
But charity Rickmansworth Waterways Trust (RWT), which hosts the event, has expressed fears for its future after Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) axed its financial support.
RWT volunteer, Russell Carpenter (pictured far left), told the Gazette: "We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from TRDC. We realise these are troubled times and the council is having to make very difficult decisions.
"Unfortunately, as a result, council funding for the festival will be cut in half next year, and altogether from 2013.
"What punters often fail to understand is that the festival is managed and organised completely by volunteers, and it is a huge and complex operation.
"There is no question of us not putting the festival on any more, but we must have the right foundations in place.
"It takes about a year to put together and we desperately need more volunteers to get involved. We are also searching for sponsors to provide future funding.
"The festival is always a huge success and we just want the tradition to continue, and for the event to get bigger and better every year."
Leader of TRDC, Councillor Ann Shaw, said: "Three Rivers has an excellent relationship with RWT and we will continue to give a tremendous amount of support to the festival in a number of ways, such as providing the Aquadrome with significant grounds maintenance support over the weekend, staff time and support to help to run the event and publicity leading up to it.
"It was a difficult decision to agree a future reduction in our cash contribution to the Festival, but some cuts are inevitable if TRDC is to protect front line services, and the elderly and vulnerable."
What do you think? Email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at email@example.com or post a comment below.
We'd like to hear from you. Send your stories, pics and videos