Newry Rainbow Community is in line for up to £75K funding from Newry, Mourne and Down Council to help them host UK and Ireland Pride in the City in August 2019.

Councillors met at this afternoon's Economic Regeneration and Tourism Committee Meeting in Newry and as part of the Tourism Events Programme agenda item, agreed to provide £60K to the group, the result of an underspend from the 2018/2019 Tourism Events financial assistance funding call.

The £60K provision will "support the planning and delivery of the UK and Ireland Pride Festival in Newry in 2019". Additionally they agreed to support the NRC with an additional level of funding from the Tourism Events Programme budget in the 19/20 Financial year "once the final cost breakdown and budget of the Festival has been set and agreed." Last year the Tourism Event budget allowed for organisations to apply for up to £15K, so if the same is on offer in 2019, the NRC could have a potential total pot of £75K.

The decision would also see the council commit officers time, as part of a multi-agency team of relevant stakeholders in preparation for the event. The decision will now go to the full Newry, Mourne and Down Council Meeting in January for ratification.

Newry were named as hosts for UK and Ireland Pride 2019 at an event in Glasgow in October.The bid was supported by Newry Rainbow Community, Newry BID and Newry, Mourne and Down Council. It will take place as part of the Pride in Newry Festival on Saturday 31 August 2019.

The Pride in Newry parade  2018. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The Pride in Newry parade 2018. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Todays proposal added "This major international festival which will take place on 31st August 2019 brings the potential to attract a significant volume of visitors to Newry and the wider district. The Pride festival is set to be the largest ever tourism event to be hosted in the city."

Speaking at the meeting Cllr Roisin Mulgrew congratulated the NRC on their successful bid for UK and Ireland Pride  and noted that Marie Ward, Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Director of Enterprise and Tourism was already on the case, having contacted people from this years event location, the Isle of Wight. Cllr Mulgrew said she had "No doubt it will be a superb event in the district"

Councillor Harry Harvey and Glynn Hanna said that they wouldn't be supporting the reccomendation. Cllr Harvey thought the pot should be spread to other events.

Cllr Pete Byrne disagreed saying that if the pot was spread we wouldn't get as much "bang for buck" and said that UK and Ireland Pride will be the biggest festival the area has ever seen!

How the Underspend came about

As a result of a Freedom of Information request was able to discover that 22 community organisations/ festival organisers applied to the council for Tourism Event Calls 1 and 2 funding in 2018 with seven of these being unsuccessful.

The 15 successful groups requested £194,792.50 (just £207.50 less than the £195,000 total funding pot available for Tourism Events) but the groups were only awarded a total of  £132,792 leaving an underspend.

The Applicants

Newry 2020 - Applied for £15,000 Received £8,000

Newry Rainbow Community - Applied for £14,850 Received £10,000

Life Adventure Co - Applied for £13,060 Received £10,092

Castlewellan Soma Group - Applied for £15,000 Received £15,000

Kilkeel Development Association - Applied for £15,000 Received £10,000

Schomberg Society Kilkeel - Applied for £15,000 Received £9,500

26 Extreme Ltd - Applied for £14,582.50 Received £1,900

Fiddlers Green Festival - Applied for £15,000 Received £15,000

Sticky Fingers - Applied for £15,000 Received £5,000

Richmond Marketing Ltd - Applied for £15,000 Received £15,000

Carlingford Lough Currach Club - Applied for £5,700 Received £3,700

Newry Agricultural Show - Applied for £15,000 Received £4,000

National Trust Castleward - Applied for £7,500-10,000 Received £7,500

Sloane 350 Group - Applied for £11,600 Received £11,100

Down GAA - Applied for £15,000 Received £7,000



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