Trust set up to take control of Hull's Freedom Festival
THE city's annual Freedom Festival is set to be managed by a new charitable trust.
The new-look trust will take over work previously done by the former Visit Hull and East Yorkshire tourism agency chief executive Janet Reuben on behalf of Hull City Council.
Her post was axed earlier this year as part of funding cuts by the Welcome to Yorkshire agency.
The new move was agreed this week by council leader Steve Brady in a signed decision record.
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It comes after uncertainty over the future direction of the popular event following the end of a two-year contract between Hull City Council and Edinburgh-based Unique Events to produce the festival.
This year's Freedom, in early September, was generally regarded to have been one of the most successful to date, attracting more than 75,000 people to a weekend of live music, arts events and activities based around the old Fruit Market area.
There had been speculation the council might take over the running of the event next year.
But a new report, seen by the Mail accompanying the decision record, says running it in-house would jeopardised previously-agreed funding support from the Arts Council worth £565,000.
One of the conditions of the main three-year Arts Council funding deal for Freedom announced in 2010 was the creation of an independent arts organisation to manage the event.
Now that is set happen with a new limited company being set up to operate as a charitable trust.
The report, by the council's city economic development manager Mark Jones, says: "The Freedom event has been successfully delivered since 2008 under its management and delivery arrangements, which have ensured it has become a significant part of the annual cultural programme.
"Freedom has adapted to changing funding streams and has been highly successful in creating a high-profile event for the city.
"However, for it to successfully develop and become sustainable in the future, options need to be presented which will manage the event, develop exciting partnerships and restore future funding."
The report reveals a steering group of partner organisations oversaw the management of this year's festival after the departure of Mrs Reuben in March. She was instrumental in initially hiring Unique Events, having previously worked in Edinburgh.
The report says securing future Arts Council support through the creation of a new charitable trust to run Freedom would also cement positive relations with the funding organisation.
It says: "The Arts Council contributes more than £2.2m to cultural activity across the city covering the arts, museums, libraries and independent theatre.
"The importance of maintaining this relationship is critical to successfully delivering the city's current and future cultural offer."
The new trust is expected to be up and running by January.