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Parish offers cash but Leys Fair is still in doubt
9:20am Saturday 16th February 2013 in News
UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of a popular community event in Oxford’s largest estate.
The Leys Fair, which previously attracted thousands of people, is under threat again following two years of cancellations.
It was called off in 2011 and 2012 over a lack of support, but Blackbird Leys Parish Council has said it will do what it can to ensure the event goes ahead this September.
The annual event goes back decades, but ran in its current form each year from 1997, attracting up to 4,000 people annually.
Last night the parish council agreed to pledge £5,000, but organisers will have to raise another £5,000 and find someone to run it.
Oxford City Council wants the Leys Neighbourhood Partnership to become a charity in order to take over the running of the fair and give the estate a stronger identity.
The Leys Neighbourhood Partnership consists of residents, city and parish councillors, and representatives from the police, Early Intervention Service, CDI Housing Consortium.
Lois Muddiman, of Oxford City Council, told Blackbird Leys Parish Council: “We need a handful of founding members from each of the groups.
“If the Leys Neighbourhood Partnership were to become a charity it would allow the partnership to apply for funding in its own right and to take on more local projects such as organising the fair.
Parish council chairman Gordon Roper said: “We cannot give an answer as to whether we would join the charity yet and would need to see a request in writing before we make a decision about seeing this through.
“But yes this year we are looking at delivering the fair in a different way. We may look at asking those who helped out with the Cowley Road carnival to help.”