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Time is running out for Mela 2012

Last year's Mela was as popular as ever

Last year's Mela was as popular as ever

First published in News

DESPITE an appeal for help through the Adver, organisers are still waiting for sponsors to come forward to ensure this year’s Swindon Mela takes place.

Now in its 10th year, the festival saw 23,000 people head to the Town Gardens, in Old Town, last year to sample British Asian culture.

Last week, they appealed for help securing the £55,000 sponsorship needed to run it, and if they don’t get it, this year’s event might not take place.

Sonny Hamid, project manager of Swindon Mela Ltd, who has been involved with the Mela for five years, said: “We haven’t secured the sponsorship yet.

“We are still appealing.

“There is a risk if we don’t get sufficient funding we may have to go back to the drawing board and see whether we can cut back or we may have to call it a day for this year.

“I have to be realistic, it is just like running a business.”

Sponsorship is needed to pay for infrastructure, security, generators, first aid centres, travel expenses for some of the teams, bunting, banners and prizes.

“Times are hard at the moment. I am optimistic, but my optimism does not fund the Mela,” he said.

This year’s Mela is due to be held on August 25 at the Town Gardens.

A deadline has not yet been set to decide whether the event will go ahead or not, but organisers hope people will come forward as soon as possible.

Swindon Mela Ltd will be running a Taste of the Mela event at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, in Bath Road, on June 9 to help raise money.

It will run from 11am until 5pm and donations will be taken on the door to help with funding.

It will include Fairtrade clothing from India, youth groups, hot food and ice cream stalls, live music, henna, performers, workshops, sari tying and a drumming masterclass.

“I am hopeful that we can attract more sponsorship and funding by raising awareness of our difficulties,” said Sonny.

“If people know about the issues, then they can start doing something about it, coming forward with ideas, volunteering or helping us raise money to ensure that we have a Mela in 2012 we can all be proud of.”

To find out more about Swindon Mela, to make a donation, offer sponsorship or volunteer go to www.swindonmela.com/mela.

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