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Brighton tourism chiefs call for dialogue to save White Night
The private sector has pledged to step in to help resurrect a major night-time event. Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance has called on Brighton and Hove City Council to forge a public/private partnership to fund the all-night cultural festival.
Brighton and Hove Arts and Creative Industries Commission has announced that White Night will not take place this year.
The event no longer receives the European Union Interreg funding and the Arts Council turned down an application for £50,000.
Claire Ottewell, chairman of the Tourism Alliance, said that the demise of Brighton's White Night raises a serious issue around the sustainability of events in the city.
She said Light Night has been a successful initiative spearheaded for a number of years by the Association of Town Centre Management. She said it is a partnership between business and city centres. The aim is to give business a platform to prove how innovative and imaginative they can be. She said: “In many ways it is similar to White Night in that it delivers a programme of interesting events and activities across a town centre over the course of an evening.
“However, the key difference is that the offering is led by businesses and business groups and partnerships such as Town Centre Management companies and Business Improvement Districts. “Additional support comes from the local authority, and individual activities can seek funding from the likes of the Big Lottery Fund or the Arts Council.
“The core needs to be activities that drive footfall into our shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions.
“If businesses feel engaged in the process and are likely to benefit from positive PR and consumer spending, then they are more likely to contribute to the bigger picture.”
Paula Murray, commissioner for culture at the council, said it is looking at new funding opportunities for the event.
She said: “If businesses want to support a future event with sponsorship that’s great. But the event needs a budget of about £50,000. We have tried to engage business in the past.
“But we are looking at alternative funding models and we would welcome the opportunity to bring the Arts Commission and businesses together to discuss ways of funding the event.”