Councillor Julie Flaherty
Members of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s leisure and community services committee have asked Council to review the costs a group or organisation wishing to hold a fundraiser at its facilities may be charged.
The issue was raised at a meeting of the committee on Monday, November 8 with one councillor claiming they are of the understanding groups may be asked for a refundable deposit of up to £2,000 should they wish to hold a fundraising event on Council property.
Raising the issue, Councillor Julie Flaherty said she had been asked by a number of groups who had used Craigavon Lakes as a venue for their fundraising activity as to why they were being charged a fee.
“A number of groups have been using our facilities, namely Craigavon Lakes for fundraising and they were charged a hire for using the path round the lakes for a fundraising event,” said Cllr Flaherty.
“I would like clarity as to why that was? I asked a question at the time and couldn’t get to the bottom of why they were charged a fee. I think it is entirely unfair because let’s be honest, they could have just rocked up and had their fundraiser and nobody would have mentioned it.”
The Chair of the committee, Councillor Keith Haughian said it was a “very pertinent question” and expressed his hope that the officer’s response is circulated to all committee members.
Councillor Catherine Nelson said she to was aware of groups being charged to use the lakes for fundraising activities and said given Council does not own the footpaths around the lake the situation is “nearly laughable”.
“I was at an event a number of weeks ago at Craigavon Lakes for a group that are friends of primary schools,” said Cllr Nelson.
“They literally raise funds to fund the likes of a literacy programme in a primary school and were charged for using the lakes.
“They did a litter pick beforehand and a litter pick after. They had a massive amount of red tape to go through so I do think we need to look at this to ensure we are treating people fairly.
“Charging for the lakes is nearly laughable given we don’t own the footpaths but are willing to take the money off people who want to walk or run them.”
The committee Chair then said the comments have been noted and assured members officers will come back with clarification.
Councillor Darryn Causby then told the chamber how groups seeking to use a public facility do have to do a lot of work before they are granted permission and claimed that in some cases a deposit of up to £2,000 can be required.
“Pertinent points have been raised here,” he said. “There is an enormous event plan required of any group in order to get a public facility.
“It is very difficult to complete, particularly if you are working with groups who want to raise money for other charitable things, the event plans, risk assessment requirements and also the fees.
“I do believe there is a refundable deposit required I believe it can be up to £2,000.
“Hopefully this can be brought back as an item for the next committee meeting so we can have a good look at this.”