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The Friends’ Fête and the Council’s greed

Oh look, here’s another good thing that Our Council seems to be hell-bent on stamping out. Like the recent bus rally (but much more worthy) it doesn’t take many brain cells to figure out that the hospital fête is a good thing that deserves encouragement and support, not fleecing. CCC are happy to fritter £17,000 of our money on new ceremonial robes for the Lord Mayor (which will benefit how many people, and how?) but insist on chiselling £400 from the Friends of QVMH (which benefits how many people, and how?).


Street advert grounded by red tape

How much does it cost to put up a banner? Council bean-counters wanted £400 from hospital fundraisers to erect one over the High Street advertising their annual summer fete next Saturday. Organisers were stunned to be told of the cost – up from £200 last year and £120 the year before – and decided to scrap the aerial advertising and use the money to help patients instead. But Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital League of Friends spokeswoman Sandy Winkworth said it was a bitter blow to the hard-working team of volunteers.

“It is a disappointment. We just can’t justify that sort of cost, particularly as we’d have to pay to alter the banner to this year’s date as Well. Every penny We raise goes towards the hospital and the patients and keeping it as a service for Herne Bay. It’s a shame that we can’t get more support from the council.”

The shock estimate came just weeks after bureaucrats tried to charge volunteer organisers of the Herne Bay Bus Rally £850 in compensation for the car parking spaces they would take up. After negotiation, they agreed to accept £200 instead. Mrs Winkworth added:

“It does seem unfair when all these events are organised by volunteers for charity. If the cost had increased by 10 or 20 per cent on last year we would probably have paid it. But when we raise between £6,000 and £7,000 it is a big percentage of the fundraising and it seems a waste. We have to try and get posters around town instead but people just don’t look at them. The sad thing is that the banner really worked by reminding people of the fete and the date.”

Council spokesman Steve James said the cost included a £50 admin charge. He said:

“The charge is applied by our contractors, Serco, and covers their costs. But they expect to have a new piece of machinery next month and once they have that it will reduce the admin and labour costs of putting up a banner. Those savings will be passed on so we hope next year the cost will be lower.”

The fete, from 2pm on Saturday, September 3, will include cake stalls, children’s rides, clairvoyants and a raffle. Donations are welcome, and for more information call 01227 367894 or 01227 452070.

HB Times 25th Aug 2011 l.crudgington@KRNmedia.co.uk



Friends’ fete too costly to advertise

The League of Friends to The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital Herne Bay says it has become too expensive to advertise its annual fete on September 3 with a banner across the High Street. In the past the charity has used it to publicise the event but says the cost of putting up the banner has been doubled by the city council’s contractor. But members are keen to promote the fete which is traditionally their biggest fundraiser of the year. Committee member Sandy Winkworth said:

“We felt the cost of the banner at more than £400 was now just too high and not a good use of our funds.”

Council spokesman Steve James said:

“Unfortunately our contractor Serco has had to pass on the full cost of erecting banners like these, but it is soon to acquire a cherry picker which it says will make it much cheaper in the future. Sadly it will probably arrive too late for the Friends.”

The fete opens at 2pm and there will be about 40 stalls and sideshows including bric-a-brac, plants, jigsaws, clairvoyants, cake stalls, tombola, children’s rides, barbecue and refreshments. There will also be two raffles and a subscription stall encouraging new life members for £10. Mrs Winkworth said:

“All money raised goes towards the hospital. Over the past few months we have spent about £35,000. The corridors have been redecorated, a new digital TV has been put in the outpatients waiting area, new blinds for the day centre, various pieces of equipment and quite a bit of tidying work on parts of the gardens. The work goes on to keep our hospital in good shape. If anyone has anything that they would like to donate to the fete, we are happy to collect almost anything except clothes. Please call Rina on 01227 367894 or Liz on 01227 452070. Alternatively, items can be delivered to our little shop in the hospital.”

HB Gazette 25th Aug 2011

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