Bah humbug! Peebles Christmas Lights Association funding application rejected

Scottish Borders Council’s £500,000 ‘Build Back a a Better Borders Recovery Fund’, has left volunteers of Peebles Christmas Lights committee feeling bitter rather than better.

By Hilary Scott
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 2:32 pm
Peebles Christmas Lights Switch-On
Peebles Christmas Lights Switch-On

Local volunteers, who pulled off a dazzling display at Christmas, have hinted at the council being Scrooge-like, after denying them a slice of the funding being made available to events, to re-boot volunteering activities impacted by the coronavirus.

The Christmas Lights Association was rejected funding because it made purchases prior to putting in an application.

Committee member Malcolm Bruce, said: “The Association finds itself, not exactly financially impoverished, but we are not in as good a position as we once were because normal fundraising activity has been denied to us because of Covid.”

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Peebles Christmas Lights Switch-On

“We did apply for some assistance for some Covid-related funds for this year’s event, but unfortunately we fell foul of rules, and we didn’t get a penny towards it.”

The stage for the event was a whopping £2,000. “It was a really expensive piece of kit,” explained Mr Bruce. “We were glad to do it, but it’s important that the town realise this is put on by volunteers, and we have to raise every penny of it ourselves.”

A Just Giving page is to be launched soon. “We need to try and replenish our funds, as it would appear that all grant funding sources have been denied to us at this point in time.”

Mr Bruce replied: “The application this year, as I am sure you are aware Robin, was to the Bring Back Better Borders Fund, which we thought we fitted like a glove.

But we fell foul of it because the urgency of fitting the lights meant that certain purchases had already been made in advance of us submitting the application, and it was turned down. You won’t fund something that has already happened, which was, for me, is completely unnecessary red tape for what is one of the most magnificent volunteering events this town puts on .”