Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Chinese festival considers entry fee

Dragon dancers Image copyright Birmingham Chinese New Year Festival
Image caption Birmingham's Chinese New Year celebrations are focused around the Arcadian Centre

Organisers of the Birmingham Chinese New Year Festival have said they could be forced to charge for the event from 2016 after city council funding cuts.

The event was one of several to lose money as the local authority announced £117m savings earlier this month.

Festival chairman Jeffrey Yapp said the committee was looking at other ways to fund the event in the long-term.

He said charging for entry was one option.

The festival started some 30 years ago and now regularly attracts about 30,000 visitors.

"It's enjoyed by the whole city, not just the local Chinese community," Mr Yapp said. "I understand [the need to make savings], but things that generate income should be given help.

"The festival attracts 30,000 visitors and if they each just spent £10 at businesses in the area, that's a lot of money."

Earlier this month, Birmingham City Council described the savings targets as "deeply distressing" and that there would be "no service that will remain untouched", given the scale of the cuts it was facing.

Mr Yapp said the festival currently received a £9,000 council grant, £7,000 of which was paid back to the local authority for security, fencing and other safety measures.

Sponsorship from local firms currently make up about another £9,000.

While the 2015 Chinese New Year Festival around the Arcadian Centre on 22 February was secure, he said future events could be under threat if extra funding could not be found.

Some other events, such as Birmingham Pride, already charge for entry.

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