Due to budget cuts, Birmingham City Council can no longer fund Christmas lights. Unlike other areas in Birmingham where their centre forms part of a B.I.D. (Business Improvement District), Moseley does not and therefore is not able to utilise the monetary resources that these areas have. We also do not have a big sponsor as some centres with large land & property owners (such as Calthorpe Estates)
The only way for Moseley to have Christmas lights is if the community and local businesses make it happen.
formed as a volunteer group through Moseley Forum in 2013 to help fundraise and organise the Christmas Lights switch on event in Moseley. This is our third year of lighting up Moseley for Christmas. Each successive year we have increased the number of lights on lamp posts from 19 in 2013 to a planned 28 this year.
We want to help create a vibrant atmosphere in which we can enjoy the festive season together and help our local businesses by increasing footfall in the area as well as providing a free and fun community event.
Moseley has a great community spirit at its heart and is what makes us one of the best places to live in the UK. The event is more than just the Christmas lights, it’s about bringing the community together to enjoy the festive season with many activities taking place throughout the day.
The switch on event in previous years is loved by and excites so many people within the village. We have had some great support from the local businesses who have sponsored us to help raise funds.
If we are going to keep the Christmas spirit in Moseley shining, as it has in the past, we need to act NOW as a community. We need to think outside the box, pool our resources and make Christmas 2015 special because it is OURS.
What will it cost?
A great deal can be done without a budget and we are a group of committed community volunteers.
In order to light up Moseley for Christmas and provide a free Community event to be enjoyed by all, we have to raise in the region of £11,000. This includes the costs to fit and rent the light motifs, the Christmas tree, energy consumption, Public Liability Insurance and some of the activities that take place throughout the day. Each lamp post motif costs £285 for installation, power and maintenance. In previous years Birmingham City Council helped partially fund the event through their Community Chest Grant. This is now no longer available.
We as a group have organised various fundraising initiatives along with working with other community groups and many of our local businesses to help sponsor the event.We have teamed up with Moseley in Bloom, who also have no public funding, to create a joint Business Sponsorship scheme.
We now need your support to make this become a reality.
Who is organising this? Are there councillors heading it up?
No, we are not councillors. This project is being driven by volunteers within the community – community activists, traders, community groups and people that just want to help! We do however have the support of our councillors who wish us to succeed
Who will be handling the money?
Moseley Community Development Trust are dealing with the financial side of things. They are a registered charity with an independent accountant who audits their books - keeping everything as transparent as possible.
What about people who don’t have internet access – is there some way for them to contribute?
Yes, there are collection boxes in shops. Donations can also be made to the Moseley Comunity Development Trust at the Moseley Exchange
What will happen if the target isn't reached?
We will have to make a decision which part of the village can't have lamp post motifs, which will be difficult as business sponsors have come from all the areas of the village.
Will there be a Christmas Tree?
Yes! Moseley Farmers Market have kindly donated towards this.
Can’t we buy our own lights or get some donated by a big business?
The lamp post columns are managed by AMEY who in turn contract the job of installing Christmas lights to the council. If we were to put our own lights up we would need our own contract with AMEY which with all the insurance, health and safety regs etc would be less cost effective than using the council, who do not make a profit from acting on our behalf. It is labour and energy costs we need to fund. If lights were donated this would still need to be paid, plus there would be problems of storage after Christmas and converting lampposts.
Why does it cost so much? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to use a different contractor?
The figures used are those quoted by the council and cover storage, maintenance, installation and removal and energy costs. Unfortunately we do not have the option to outsource to another company due to the contracts that are in place with AMEY who provide much of the infrastructure - including lampposts – for Birmingham.
Why can’t the traders pay? It’s their businesses it’s affecting
Many of the local businesses have already donated towards the event. The businesses in Moseley also have to pay business rates, set by Government. Many of them are small independent businesses and struggle just to keep afloat. It would not be fair to expect the traders of Moseley to shoulder this burden alone.
Many traders are pledging in-kind donations and services for the event on the 5th December and many have pledged money too. They have already been working incredibly hard this year to transform and improve Moseley, so that people view it as somewhere they want to live, work and shop. They need support to get over this last hurdle.
So who is asking for this?
The community (residents, shoppers, businesses and children) have actually been the ones shouting the loudest to keep the lights. They do not want to lose the “festive experience” and, without it, they would seek out alternatives to Moseley. However, this project is about the well-being of the whole village, not any particular group.
Why should we pay? It’s the council’s responsibility – we pay council tax and are getting less for our money, we shouldn’t be helping them!
Christmas lights are not something the council is actually “responsible” for, but it is something that BCC (Birmingham City Council) have helped partially fund for Moseley in the past. We have just taken it for granted. Many councils do not do this.
Remember BCC pay for essential services like our schools, libraries, social services (including care of the elderly and disabled), roads, street lighting, and of course, the refuse collections, to name but a few.
Please remember that by not funding the lights, the council do not really lose anything, it will be the community, the children in particular, and in turn the traders that will lose out. By not pledging, it's not the council you'll be hurting, but your own community. This is not and us and them situation - we all need to work together to succeed.
What about next year and the year after? If we do it once the council will assume we’ll do it every year!
In all likelihood, the council will never fund the Christmas lights and event in the way that they have in the past. Not because they want to take advantage of the community, but because they simply cannot afford to. However, creating the Christmas event for ourselves will instil a much greater sense of pride and community feel. Plus, we get to decide the way we think it should be and transform it into something better! The community response we've seen has not only shown us how much passion and positivity there is in Moseley, but also how many different ideas and resources are out there. We may well do a better job than the council!
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.