Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has applied for funding from the town council towards an extended Christmas shopping event in the High Street this year.
There is traditionally late night shopping on a Friday early in December but this year there are plans to carry activity over on to the Saturday as well.
Samantha Holman, of Element Health and Wellbeing, who is helping to organise the event said in an email to the town council that last year’s late night shopping was a huge success and the aim was to grow the feeling of community spirit and add a family element by extending the event to include Saturday, December 5, day-time, as well as the usual Friday evening.
She said the number of schools wanting to take part in singing on a stage in the High Street had increased and the Chamber had already agreed to fund the additional £1,100 cost of staging and equipment needed for the Saturday.
The plan was also to hire a marquee for Civic Approach to house some local traders and also to have characters, such as Olaf from Frozen, greeting children in town.
Samantha said: “We hope to provide face painting and other fun, festive activities through the event.”
She added: “On behalf of the late night shopping team I would like to apply for between £600 and £800 of emergency funding to help make this public event the best yet. We have had a fantastic response from residents via social media and we really don’t want to disappoint.”
The Chamber request is due to be considered at a meeting of the council’s environment and leisure committee on Monday.
In a report to the committee town clerk Ashley Serpis reminds members that the town council contributes about £9,000 towards festive lights every year, principally in the High Street, with about £2,000 coming from the Chamber of Commerce.
In addition the council normally provides hanging baskets and other floral decorations.
He also points out that the town council is committed towards encouraging advertising and activities to ensure shoppers are aware that the town remains ‘open for business’ during programmed roadworks scheduled for the New Year.
And he says members may wish to consider whether any funding, if agreed, should go towards co-ordinating with others, a regular programme of events in the New Year “when there is probably a greater need to attract shoppers to the town rather than two events on two consecutive days at an already busy period”.
“They may therefore wish to consider recommending funding is provided during this financial year for events as well as including a sum in their 2016-17 budgets for further events.”
Mr Serpis says: “Members are encouraged to consider the slightly longer term requirements for attracting visitors to the town during the forthcoming road works and also encourage other partner organisations to commit funding and ideas to ensure that disruption to trade in the town is minimised.
Remember last year’s late night shopping event? Pictures can be seen here.