THE famous Gorgie Dalry Gala Day has been threatened with closure due to funding cuts and steep new charges.
Organisers have issued an urgent appeal for cash to ensure the survival of the 32-year-old event, while calling on locals to give their support.
The popular community attraction is struggling this year due to the withdrawal of funding from the city council, the introduction of operational licences, and new charges for portable toilets.
Although the event is seven months away, organisers say the funding is such that they anticipate having to fold the event unless the situation changes.
Hearts FC said the event was important to the local community and they would attempt to fundraise.
Jim Young, gala day co-ordinator, said: “On top of cutting the grant we used to get, the council has slapped a rental bill of £300 a day for the hire of portable toilets, when they used to provide them for nothing. We are appealing to the council for help here as the gala is for local people and it helps to build up community spirit.”
Mr Young is also appealing for local people to help save the stricken gala. He said: “Unless local people become involved it is in serious threat of closure and would be a massive loss.”
Sandra Ramsay, a local resident involved in the event, added: “Our gala day has been part of our community calendar now for the past 32 years.
“It used to be a week-long festival, reduced now to a one-day event in Murieston Park. I urge local residents to help save the gala.”
Organisers have also seen a reduction in business sponsorship due to the recession.
David Southern, managing director of Hearts, said: “If the people of Gorgie Dalry are keen to keep the event going, Heart of Midlothian will do what it can to assist them.”
A spokeswoman from the council said local organisers had received the same annual grant as last year but this was lower than in previous years. But provisions such as portable toilets would no longer be funded.
She said: “This year we provided Gorgie Dalry Community Association with a grant of £29,993 but due to budget constraints, we have had to reduce services-in-kind for events such as this.”
To get involved in the event contact Jim Young on 0131-337 3252 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org