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Please donate to save Mela festival
ORGANISERS have confirmed that this year’s Swindon Mela will go ahead, but warned it could be the last unless enough donations are made.
Earlier this year, the Mela asked for donations and sponsorship to ensure this year’s festival went ahead due to increasing costs.
But although they nearly have enough for the £50,000 event in the Town Gardens on August 25, the festival’s funds will run dry for the future.
Jaz Bhui, chairman and director of Swindon Mela Ltd, the not-for profit organising body, said they would be asking for £2 donations on the gate for the first time in its 10-year history.
“There are not many grants available or sponsors around,” he said. “Normally every year at the end of the Mela we have some money left over which we keep as a reserve and carry it over to the following year.
“This year we are going to do the Mela but don’t know if we are going to have a reserve after it. If we don’t have enough collection in the buckets there is a possibility there won’t be a Mela next year.
“We met last week and reviewed our figures to decide whether we wanted to postpone this year’s and have it next year or have this year’s and maybe not have next year’s. We decided we wanted this year’s because it is the 10th anniversary.”
The Mela is a one-day celebration of South Asian arts, culture, music and dancing and includes stalls selling food and products. It usually attracts about 23,000 visitors.
Costs have increased because of road closures, paying for professional stewards and increased health and safety costs.
“In the past few years we have had donation buckets inside but normally people are just walking around with them and some people don’t see them,” said Jaz.
“We might do some posters when people are walking towards the entrance gates to remind people to get their money ready for the donation.
“We simply cannot go on covering the increasing costs imposed by Swindon Council. We did ask to charge a small entrance fee to the Mela on the day, but this request was turned down by the council.
“The fact is that sponsorship is down from last year and costs are up – however the tremendous support and encouragement shown by the many friends of the Swindon Mela have persuaded us to carry on – full steam ahead.”
To make a donation visit www.swindonmela.com.