(A report presented by Phil Perry, Head of Place and Space)
The Head of Place and Space presented a summary of the events held throughout the spring and summer seasons and upcoming events in the calendar for the remainder of the 2018/19 financial year.
The 2018/19 financial year had seen an increasing calendar of events against the previous year, with events now running regularly from March to December. Appendix A incorporated the full listing of events.
A total of 30 events had been delivered by the Events Team during 2018/19. The Events Team consisted of 1.5 Full Time Equivalents, including the additional Events Assistant post agreed by BTAC at its 30th August meeting.
The additional funding to support the development of existing and new events had resulted in the Events Team delivering 11 new events and the expansion of 3 events in this year’s calendar for 2018, and, with the support of the Events Sub Group, the Team was working towards further new events in the future.
The BTAC Events Sub Group had successfully delivered events over the summer with an additional event being planned for December. The Lost and Found Vikings, Sausage and Beer Festival, and Teddy Bears Picnic had all been well received and a Sub Group Volunteer was currently working hard to see a return of a Santa Fun Run in Boston.
The Events programme had led to wider benefits to the wider Town Centre with businesses seeing an increase in their footfall whilst events were being held, and businesses were starting to support the development of the events programme through sponsorship and advertising.
The Events Team and the Sub Group were getting increasing levels of very positive feedback. With people now starting to come to visit Boston from further afield to see what we have on offer, it is anticipated that the demand for hotel accommodation and other retail/catering opportunities will start to rise as well.
The Events Team and Sub Group were continuing to develop and deliver events and make improvements for the 2019/20 programme. Some great constructive feedback has been received from the general public on improvements, changes they would make and things they would like to see.
The Events Team and Sub Group will continue to develop relationships with businesses to create further sponsorship opportunities to support the costs of running events where possible.
In response to questions, it was explained that officers themselves had not received any negative comments about the event, but all feedback, covering compliments and complaints to the Council, was reported to Cabinet in the Quarterly Monitoring Report.
[Councillors Anton Dani and Brian Rush left the meeting at 7.30 pm]
Members commended the partnership working between Members and members of the public and the range of events they had developed, and also the way that businesses had become engaged and had contributed.
Members discussed the merits of monitoring the cost and attendance figures for each event, purely in order to decide whether there should be increased advertising etc. It was acknowledged that the success of some events could not be attributed to their cost effectiveness or numbers, e.g. the Fairy Doors event for small children, and larger events could subsidise smaller ones. It was hoped that events would become cost neutral or that the money from events could be put towards more events. However, some events took time to develop, e.g. the outdoor cinema events, which were sold out this year, and the weather also made a difference.
Members felt that a significant outcome of the events was the way they raised morale and allowed people to take part in interesting things in the town without having to travel elsewhere. The Sub Group was congratulated, particularly the volunteers for the time and effort they had put in and the fantastic ideas they had put together.