PLANS to create a new charity to run parts of the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations are one step closer.
Stratford Town Council have agreed to part-fund a budget of £10,000 to turn the development panel – who run the sponsored parade and street flag displays – into a charitable organisation.
They now need the district council to agree to fund the rest of the money so work can start on submitting a request to the Charities Commission.
The displays are the the responsibility of a development manager supported by the district council, who run a joint venture under the banner of ‘The Friends of Shakespeare’s Celebrations’.
Their aim is to raise money through sponsorship and grants to fund the event.
But in a recent report by district council senior officer Dave Webb, it was argued the annual event would be more likely to attract sponsors and grants if it was run by a charity.
The report states that the Friends of Shakespeare’s Celebrations organisation has raised £43,000 but with the cost of the parade reaching more than £100,000 each year, he maintains more work needs to be done.
It reads: “The ability to attract more sponsors is limited while the celebrations continue to be administered and governed by the two public sector bodies.
“In order to approach major trusts and foundations capable of providing significant funding charitable status will be required.”
In the report, Mr Webb recommends Stratford District Council’s ruling Cabinet accept to part-fund the initiative at their meeting on June 29.
The traditional Birthday Celebrations, which date back to 1824, have always been held in Stratford on the Saturday closest to April 23 – the Bard’s believed birthday, and also the date of his death.
The focal point is the Birthday Parade, which makes its way from Shakespeare’s Birthplace to his grave at Holy Trinity Church, and is set to take place this year on April 25.