ORGANISERS of one of the biggest annual events in Helensburgh's calendar are to receive up to £5,000 in grant support from Argyll and Bute Council.

The Helensburgh Winter Festival is one of 10 events to receive a share of £48,000 in financial backing from the local authority's Strategic Events and Festivals fund.

The Mull Rally is recommended to be the biggest beneficiary, with a £15,000 award earmarked.

Music festivals in Tarbert and Tiree, the winter festival in Oban, the Tarbert Seafood Festival and the Islay Book Festival are also set to benefit to the tune of up to £5,000 - the same amount as Helensburgh.

Completing the line-up are the ‘Doon The Watter’ event, ButeFest and the Oban Games.

A report detailing the recommended grant awards will go before the authority’s policy and resources committee at its meeting on Thursday, May 11.

Council executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “There is no doubt that Covid, and other contributing factors, have had an unprecedented negative impact on the events and festivals sector.

“The council acted promptly to support the industry by continuing to provide SEF funding support to events over the past three years and whilst unfortunately some events did have to cancel in 2020/21 there was a resurgence in 2022/23 and the successful applicants from Rounds 4 and 4.2 (2022-2023) were able to go ahead.

“The council received a total of 18 applications across the two SEF 4 rounds and all of these events have either gone ahead or have confirmed they are scheduled to take place.

“In the first call for funding of round 5 the council received a total of 11 applications and allocated funding of £82,575.

“Therefore, these, together with the 10 eligible applications which have applied to round 5.2, are indicative of a slow recovery which continues to face challenges such as the cost of living crisis.”

Ms Flanagan also said: “The events and festivals sector contributes significantly to our local economy and communities’ quality of life across Argyll and Bute, and is a key part of the economic recovery plan for the area.

“However, like other key sectors it has faced significant challenges in the past three years as a consequence of Covid and the pandemic, skill shortages and the cost of living crisis.

“The council’s annual SEF funding plays a key role in the recovery of the sector with strong links to the hospitality and tourism industries.”