‘Keep an eye out for the bucket collectors’

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TALKING about the benefit to Edinburgh of the world’s largest arts festival is as well rehearsed as a five-star show.

It is undeniable that the festivals are crucial to the city’s economy, even if some argue that a fair chunk of the takings 
disappear down south.

They generate £261 million for Scotland – more than the game of golf – and in Edinburgh 
they help sustain more than 5000 jobs at a time when other sectors are hit by economic doom and gloom.

What is not always so obvious is the role the Fringe in particular has to play, outside of boosting the takings of the city’s bars, hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

Today we report on Waverley Care, Scotland’s leading HIV and Hepatitis C charity as it celebrates a 21-year tie-up with the Fringe.

It is certainly not the only charity to benefit, but here is an organisation which more than most relies on the crucial funding it receives at this time of year.

The Evening News has of course been a key supporter of Waverley Care and its vital work in the city, where it continues to fight the stigma surrounding the condition, 25 years after the Aids crisis gripped the 
country.

This was powerfully illustrated in one Christmas Appeal which highlighted how dozens of children in the Lothians are directly affected by HIV/Aids.

The fact is, Waverley Care is still working in an area which remains a difficult sell in fundraising terms in comparison to more “popular” causes. And this is where the incredible generosity of both performers and revellers every year is crucial, raising around £30,000 each time.

This year, it is hoped the total amount raised will pass the £250,000 mark – an illustration of the year-round benefit of the Fringe outside of the madness of August.

So as you enjoy this year’s Fringe, keep an eye out for the bucket collectors outside the venue and dig deep.

Even if the show was no good, you can be guaranteed your donation will raise a smile.