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Rotary carol night at risk over theatre charge row
12:00pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
A CLUB’S annual fundraising carol service is at risk after members were hit with venue charges by the council for the first time.
Clacton Rotary Club has been running its Community Carol Service at the Tendring Council-run Princes Theatre for 40 years.
They held this year’s event on Sunday and hailed it a huge success, with a full house enjoying the service and carols performed by local schoolchildren and choir members.
It raised more than £750 to help fund meals for the elderly, lonely and needy around Clacton on Christmas Day.
But the club was charged for the first time to use the Princes Theatre and Rotary bosses say the new charges have put next year’s fundraiser at risk.
Rotarian Mike Bareham said: “Sadly this is likely to be the last of the services at the Princes Theatre, which were started some forty years ago.
“This year, for the first time, Tendring Council introduced hire charges to recover costs incurred, despite this being a community and civic event.
“The Rotary Club has been advised that next year the charges will be even higher, which not surprisingly puts the 2014 Service in jeopardy.
“It is unfortunate that the council does not feel able to continue to make its limited contribution to this worthy community initiative when all other participants give their time freely.”
The cash raised helps fund a Rotary Club event at Clacton County High School on Christmas Day.
A festive banquet is laid on for more than 150 people who have nowhere else to go.
Mr Bareham added: “This year’s event was a wonderful day of Christmas celebrations, but one tinged with sadness as yet another local tradition is challenged by the accountants.”
Tendring Council has defended its position.
A spokesman said: “We treat all charities the same and give them a 30 per cent discount.
“That allows us to just cover our costs, such as staffing.”
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