Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd Dec 2017
SINCE its inception in 2012, the volunteer-run Helensburgh Winter Festival has become a key element in the annual calendar of the town of Helensburgh and its surrounding villages and rural community. It has also become one of the largest winter festivals in the West of Scotland.About Helensburgh Winter Festival 2017 THE first Helensburgh Winter Festival took place in 2012 as regarded as very successful, bringing large crowds to Helensburgh to enjoy the event together as a community, to enjoy the culture and activities on offer and to welcome others to Helensburgh as its surrounds. It proved to be a real community success. The Helensburgh Winter Festival of 2017 is going to be the biggest and best yet.
A volunteer steering group was established to organise and manage the Festival involving community participation such as from local businesses, third sector volunteers and the wider community.
The Festival has been a success in the years it has run. The main events of the Festival take place in the last weekend of November. These include a Santa Dash, live Reindeer, fairground attractions, Santa’ grotto, and numerous street entertainers, culminating in Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band leading everyone down to the Pier for a fireworks display. The activities have also included fitness demonstrations by Argyll & Bute Council Leisure staff and offering heart-checks at the swimming pool. Since 2014, A remodelled town square has provided a setting that can and will be able to host more activities adding to the opportunity for the community and others to become involved with events, put more activities on and better support the sustainability of the Festival. Ultimately, the Festival provides an opportunity for the whole community (genuinely encouraging all to become involved) to come together, welcome others and engage in a wide range of activities, some of which they would not ordinarily do so.
In recent years the Festival has concentrated on using free publicity and in targeting our key audience: Helensburgh & Lomond residents and residents of the Dumbarton area. A wide range of publicity material has been used: fliers, posters, URTV, Your Radio, Love Loch Lomond Website, For Argyll, Helensburgh Advertiser, Helensburgh Community Advertiser, The Lennox Herald, and free standing large posters.
The event has been seen as a success in community terms and has had a positive impact with local residents as well as those visiting. This has created a positive impact for the individuals directly participating as well as the community of Helensburgh as a whole. The range of participants in the Festival includes over 50 local businesses and numerous charity groups such as The Friends of Victoria Halls, the Round Table, Argyll Voluntary Action, The Grab Trust, Oxfam Shop, Enable and several local churches. Love Loch Lomond, the Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band and the West of Scotland Military Wives Choir also support the event. In 2016, the Rotary Club of Helensburgh Garelochside have also confirmed their involvement. A mix which further helps bring the community together, encourages and celebrates the role of volunteering and cements community cohesion and spirit.The Festival provides an event of real civic and community involvement, engagement and togetherness as well as providing the community with opportunities to help promote the sustainability and vibrancy of their town. Links are forged between businesses, volunteers, local churches, schools and community groups all to the benefit of the town and its residents.
It is recognised that a more formal organisational arrangement is required as the Festival move towards longer term self sustainability. The establishment of the Festival and its charitable status is a key governance step in creating that more formal footing for the future development of the Festival for the community.