'Reap Red Arrows benefits'
PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 May 2015
Charities and groups are being urged to seize the opportunity presented by the return of the Red Arrows - and the thousands of people they are expected to attract.
Sidmouth town councillor Ian Barlow said the long-awaited display presents a prime chance for the community to get involved, organise their own events and reap the benefits.
The spectacular aerobatic team is set to appear at 6.30pm on Friday, August 21, after the town council agreed to underwrite the £15,000 cost due to popular demand.
Councillor Barlow is now seeking financial support from businesses and organisations across the Sid Valley to meet two thirds of the required funds.
He said: “The Red Arrows will draw a lot of people into the town and there’s a chance for everybody to benefit, not just businesses.
“The town council is the catalyst and then we need the community to take it on and make it bigger.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to use the Red Arrows as a way of generating funds, or even raising profiles of local groups and causes - and it should be taken advantage of.
“We would like to make it an event, where, instead of turning up at 6pm, people make a day of it. It’s a great opportunity to really drag people into town and if one person comes from outside and falls in love with Sidmouth, then it’s all worth it.
“It’s a prime chance to show the town off at its best.”
Cllr Barlow added that the more organisations that can benefit from the return of the RAF stunt team this summer, the easier it will be to generate support for the event’s return next year.
The money has been pledged from the town council’s Woolley Bequest – a fund meant to enhance the community.
Cllr Barlow’s plan is to raise revenue on the day from initiatives such as car parking charges and collections, to get ahead for 2016
He will also work with sailing club members, who he described as the ‘unsung heroes’, drawing on their success of bringing the Red Arrows to the annual regatta weekend until 2006.
Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce has also pledged its support and will be assisting with fundraising efforts.
Any charity or group that would like to host events, or organise activities to tie in with this historic day is encouraged to contact the town council 01395 512424, or the chamber of commerce via www.sidmouthchamber.co.uk.