Austerity challenges for Devizes Carnival

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Dave Buxton Dave Buxton

THE organisers of Devizes Carnival finished the financial year with reserves of just under £9,000, a reduction on the previous year of £3,781.

At the AGM of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts (DOCA), last Thursday, new artistic director Jo Beal warned that austerity would bring its challenges next year and said income generation will get harder.

The accounts for the year ending October 2013 show that DOCA received £4,000 more in grants totalling £76,780, donations were up significantly from £931 to £3,765 while sponsorship went down by £2,500 to £7,217.

Carnival costs were down by almost £2,000 to £3,095 while the Street Festival’s costs were reduced by £1,326 to £61,679.

DOCA took on the organisation of the Christmas Festival for the first time in 2012 and this cost £7,110 while income for it was £8,944.

Management fees increased by £12,153 to £41,773 and overall the organisation ended with reserves of £8,946 compared with £12,727 the previous year. The AGM was told the reduction in reserves was due to a change of structure in DOCA which had not been allowed for.

DOCA chairman James Matcham paid tribute to Dave Buxton, who stepped down as artistic director after this year’s carnival but remains a trustee. Mr Buxton has been involved with revitalising the carnival since about 1999.

Mr Matcham said: “The last 12 years or so have seen a huge number of changes and transformation of the way the carnival and street festival have been put on. It has been down to the vision, drive and single mindedness of Dave Buxton who has been at the heart of it and put Devizes on the map.”

Mr Matcham said the carnival events, street festival and Christmas lantern parade were “exceptionally well attended and consistently received fantastic feedback.”

He referred to difficult decisions having been made, especially regarding the axing of the carnival baby show.

DOCA gave out £3,000 – the same as last year – in grants to: Devizes and District Guiding, Arts Together, First Stages, The Wednesday Club, The Crown Centre, Devizes Blind and Partially Sighted Club, The Trinity Primary School carnival club, Devizes Budo Club, Devizes and District Phab, Devizes Food Bank, Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Devizes Musical Theatre.

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