Agenda item


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            Committee is asked to note that Council has received a number of requests from event organisers to host events across several city park locations in 2023. Committee is also asked to note that the request for use of Falls Park also includes a request for funding.


·        VC Glendale – Falls Park

·        Penny for your Mental Health & Money Advice – Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park

·        East side Partnership - Go Greenway Campaign

·        North Belfast Lantern Parade – Alexandra Park


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       That committee note the request for £8,207 funding support for the Falls Park event. It is recommended that officers will endeavour to signpost the club to other possible external funding streams for this year’s event and work with the club in future years to ensure they are aware of our funding streams.


            The Committee is asked to grant authority to each of the applicants for the proposed events on the dates noted and to delegate authority to the Director of Neighbourhood Services to ensure the following:


i.       Where appropriate negotiate a fee which recognises the costs to Council, minimises negative impact on the immediate area and takes account of the potential wider benefit to the city economy, in conjunction with the Councils Commercial Manager;

ii.      Negotiate satisfactory terms and conditions of use via an appropriate legal agreement prepared by the City Solicitor, including managing final booking confirmation dates and flexibility around ‘set up’ & take down’ periods, and booking amendments, subject to:


-       The promoter resolving any operational issues to the Council’s satisfaction.

-       The promoter meeting all the statutory requirements of the Planning and Building Control Service including the terms and conditions of the Park’s Entertainment Licence.


2.2       Please note that the above recommendations are taken as a pre-policy position in advance of the Council agreeing a more structured framework and policy for ‘Events’, which is currently being taken forward in conjunction with the Councils Commercial team.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       If agreed, the event organisers will be required in advance of each event to submit an event management plan for approval by the Council and all relevant statutory bodies. This will include an assessment of how the event will impact upon the surrounding area and measures to mitigate these impacts.


3.2       VC Glendale Falling Leaves - Falls Park


            VC Glendale are a well-known local voluntary cycling club with a long history of producing some of the country’s finest cyclists. The club was founded in 1981 by local Andersonstown men Mark Graham, Brian Holmes and Jimmy Watson to help local cyclists take part in cycling events during a very turbulent time in Belfast. The club quickly had established itself as one of the best cross community cycling clubs in Ireland with some of its members racing in major events such as The RAS (Ireland’s premier event) and established races throughout Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and also representing Ireland at world events. The Falling Leaves event has taken place at Falls Park for the last 8 years and has been supported by BCC during its time at the park.


3.3       This event attracts riders and spectators far and wide from across Ireland as riders race for the points that ultimately influence their grid positions at National Championships. The event has become a well-established fixture on the cyclocross calendar, and it is hoped that another successful event at the venue could result in Falls Park being nominated as the venue for the Irish National championships in 2025.


3.4       This year the organisers have requested financial support from Council to assist with the delivery of the event and have submitted an expenditure budget to the department totalling £8207.00. It is important to note that the department does not have this funding in budget and at period 1 the Parks Events and Outreach team where already reporting an overspend on programming budgets due to the increase in activity and delivery costs.


            The event would have been eligible for the Support for Sport grant but unfortunately the organisers did not submit an application. It is also important to note that an allocation of funds to this event outside a grant application process could set a precedent for requests from other event organisers. 


3.5       The key dates for the event are as follows;


            Saturday 16th September – 10am Set Up

            Saturday 16th September – 12pm to 3pm – Race Day

            Sunday 17th September - 8am to 4.30pm – Race Day

            Sunday 17th September- 8pm – Off Site


3.6       Penny for your Mental Health & Money Advice – Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park


            MindWise New Vision has requested the great lawn at Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park to erect 4 tents to run a fundraising event for their mental health & money advice services. They are planning on carrying out a 24 hour walk around the park and wish to be able to use the park for this activity and raise money for their charity.


3.7       The keys dates required are as follows:


            Saturday 16th September – 8am Set Up

            Saturday 16th September 10am to Sunday 17th September – 24 hour walk

            Sunday 17th September 12pm – Leave Site


3.8       The organisation is a registered mental health charity that covers all of Northern Ireland.



3.9       Go Greenway Campaign


            Eastside Greenways have submitted a request to Belfast City Council with regards their upcoming Go Greenway Campaign. The Council have worked closely with the organisation which is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding and Legal Agreement which was agreed in 2020.


3.10      Diversifying income generation is a key priority for EastSide Greenways with a focus on ensuring the sustainability of the organisation beyond the life of the existing endowment.


            The partnership has employed the services of a branding company to develop and deliver a new branding campaign which will launch, promote and drive a new area of work focusing on fundraising through donations, corporate sponsorships and membership /patronage options.


3.11      Eastside Greenways have requested that the council allow them to fundraise at their upcoming and future events to help raise funds for their campaign and this would be done via selling memberships and collections via charity boxes at any of their events. The group state that their fundraising will help support the following work:


1.      Supporting Belfast City Councils ongoing management and maintenance of the Greenway through engagement with volunteers and residents as well as the employment of a team of Greenway Leaders.

2.      Developing and delivering an annual animation programme

3.      Promoting the Greenway as a destination and as a best practice location through talks, tours and presentations

4.      Engaging with local stakeholders year-round, working to address issues arising

5.      Delivering on ESG strategic aims and objectives


3.12      The group hope that the council will take this into consideration and grant permission for fundraising at their events.


3.13      North Belfast Lantern Parade – Alexandra Park


            New Lodge arts have requested the use of Alexandra Park for their annual Lantern Festival. This event has been held annually for a number of years without any issues arising during the course of the event.


3.14      The event will include art installations, music, dance & theatre performances. It will also include inflatables for the young members of the community and will end with a Fireworks Display.


3.15      The event is ticketed with wristbands costing £2. The ticketed system has been used to date to manage attendance numbers.  This is not for profit and all proceeds go towards covering the cost of the wrist band or activity delivered as part of the event.


3.16      In order to build the site safely and in a timely fashion, organisers have requested that the park might be closed to members of the public for a period of time on Friday 27 October and that only members of the public with tickets, can access the park on Saturday 28th from 2.00pm until the event ends at 10.00pm.  


3.17      The Key Dates are as follows.


            Friday 27 October – 8am – Set Up

            Friday 27 October – 6pm Event Begins

            Saturday 28 October 10pm – End of Event

            Sunday 29 October – 12pm – Off Site


3.18      Financial and Human Resource Implications


            The request for funding of £8,207.00 for the Falls Park event is not included in any revenue budgets and there is no allocation to support ad hoc requests. 


3.19      Asset and Other Implications


            Council officers will liaise with event organisers and promoters in relation to any potential environmental impact from events. 


3.20      Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment


            There are no known implications.”


            The Committee adopted the recommendations at 2.0 of the report regarding use of the parks as requested and for permission to fundraise.  It noted the request from VC Glendale Falling Leaves seeking financial support from the Council of £8,207 to assist with the delivery of its event at Falls Park and referred the request to the next meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee and agreed that officers would liaise with the club to ensure that it was aware of the Council’s various funding streams for future events.


Supporting documents: