AN evening of food, talks and entertainment has secured the future of Jane’s Walk for its eighth year.

A total of 50 lucky guests managed to get tickets for the now sold-out event at Firstsite organised to plug the funding shortfall faced by Jane’s Walk.

After securing £600 from Colchester Council’s Festival Support Fund last year, the scheme was scrapped this year leaving 24 walks planned but just a few hundred pounds in the kitty.

Although the walks are free, marketing is not and as the festival has grown so too has the cost of printing, which organiser Rowena Macaulay explained was previously done by individual supporters.

But with the fundraising meal, renewed support from Colchester Arts Centre, Essex University, where Rowena advises on access and inclusion, and Mailboxes Etc, the walks will go ahead.

The campaigner said: “We were stuck in a loophole because projects which started ten weeks of the closing date for the funding wouldn’t qualify and Jane’s Walk always fell within this period.

“Mark De’ath had an idea to get rid of the shortfall with one event rather than several smaller initiatives. I was really nervous at first as I’d never organised something like this.

“But he and Caroline Rhys-Lews have been fantastic, especially with co-ordinating chefs.

“Prof Jules Pretty, who is Deputy Vice Chancellor at the university, is giving an after-supper talk on the health benefits of walking and nature, and Firstsite is hosting for free as well as showing all three films during our festival.”

Walk Colchester, which was founded to promote inclusive walking, also hosts Colchester Boma for mobility-restricted walkers and Colchester Orbital, a newly-devised walking and cycle route launching on May 3 at the Minories - the same day as Colchester’s First Forum on Walking.

This is all part of Jane’s Walk, officially launching on May 4 from 7pm at Firstsite where documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City will be shown, about late urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs.

There are 23 unique walks over four days and also a mini film festival between May 6 and 7.

The organiser added: “Jane’s Walk encourages people to engage directly with their community, be observant and discuss issues of relevance to the place they live.

“Everyone can lead a walk but a lot of them are about performing in front of other people which gives people a new sense of confidence.

For the timetable, visit