Christmas lights in Downend

Published on: 30 Sep 2016

DOWNEND’S Christmas lights switch-on will be a scaled-down event this year because of a lack of funds and support.

The parish council has reduced its support for the festivities and not enough High Street businesses are able to get involved.

It is hoped that additional sponsors will come forward for next year to allow a larger seasonal activity to take place.

Last year saw a record attendance and a number of attractions, including a mini Ferris wheel, animals and Santa’s grotto. 

This year’s event will include a switch-on of the lights on the tree in the village centre at 5pm on Saturday November 19. This will be preceded by the Bitton Community Choir singing a number of classic festive songs. There will be stalls providing hot food and drinks, as well as some ‘superheroes’ in attendance. 

The parish council is financing the Christmas tree with its lights, and the motifs on the lamp posts but says it has taken a difficult decision to reduce funding because of budget constraints.

Chairman, Councillor Janet Biggin,  explained: “We have been extremely proud of how we, along with the support from local groups, have been able to grow the event over the last few years, making it a key event in the parish diary. The event however doesn’t come without sacrifice, in terms of both cost and people’s time. With parish council funds stretched, it was decided that these crucial monies needed to be spent in other areas.  The Downend Business Community (DBC) is supporting Christmas in Downend this year to ensure the event can be marked in some way. It is hoped that additional sponsorship and assistance for the 2017 event will be forthoming.”

DBC Chairman Andy Mason said: “We have worked closely with the parish council over the last few years including supporting the event financially where we are able. Feedback has been great; families have really enjoyed the treasure hunts that were staged, which were only made possible by a small number of dedicated shop owners running it, and a dozen or more shops opening late to host. Sadly we currently have no High Street businesses in our group so have no way of holding a treasure hunt this year, but we are hopeful this can be rectified for next year.”   

If you think you, your community group or business might be interested in joining the Downend Christmas Lights committee, or assisting in any way please contact Janet Biggin, tel. 07966 204 260 or email big.gin@talktalk.net.

If you operate a business in the area and want to know more about joining the Downend Business Community email info@downendbusiness.org.uk  or visit www.downendbusiness.org.uk

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