Free festival could end after nearly 40 years if volunteers aren't found

The final Mile Cross Festival at Sloughbottom Park.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

A live performance at the 2021 Mile Cross Festival - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A festival which has been a highlight on the city's calendar for almost four decades could collapse if new volunteers don't come forward. 

An urgent plea is being made for volunteers to help save the future of a long-running free community festival after three main committee members stepped down because of other commitments.

The Mile Cross Festival, which started around 37 years ago, took place on Sloughbottom Park off Valpy Avenue later than usual this year in September because of Covid lockdowns.

There are concerns the event faces an "uncertain future" because of a "lack of interest" from young people, according to the festival committee.

It needs 11 members and anyone wanting to join can attend the committee's AGM on Monday, October 18 at The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road, from 7pm.

Sue Hollis, deputy secretary of the Mile Cross Festival

Sue Hollis, deputy secretary of the Mile Cross Festival - Credit: Sue Hollis

Sue Hollis, deputy secretary for the committee, said: "The Mile Cross Festival is an opportunity for people to get together in a deprived area. It also gives a platform for local clubs and charities. It has evolved over the years.

"There is a need for it. The spirit of it is from the ground up for children. We can form self-esteem in the area. People want to do well and show off their talents and take part. It gives another dimension to the area.

"I'd like the festival to carry on. It would be sad to lose it."

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Mrs Hollis, 58, from Old Grove Court in Catton Grove, added: "We hope to put it on next year but we will have to start from scratch. We have got £700 and we need £3,000.

"We are looking for new ideas to raise money."

The AGM will be when the current members will "evaluate whether to disband the committee or pass on the roles to new trustees".

An emergency general meeting was held to debate the festival's future which attracted seven people.

The deputy secretary, who works as a foot practitioner and care assistant, said 11 people were needed because of increased bureaucracy and costs and to spread the workload.

But she added it helped people gain new social and organisational skills.

To support the festival people can contact the committee through the milexcommunity Facebook page.