Cowal Highland Gathering secures council funding - Cowal Highland Gathering
29th - 31st August 2019

News

News  »  Cowal Highland Gathering secures council funding

Cowal Highland Gathering secures council funding

Organisers of the world’s oldest pipe band competition have welcomed Argyll and Bute Council’s decision to maintain its existing level of financial support.

The council agreed to allocate the Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) £68,205 in 2014/15 – the sum set out in its ongoing Service Level Agreement(SLA) - despite the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s decision to remove the event’s ‘major’ status.

The wording of the SLA has now been amended to remove any reference to the fee for a ‘major’ championship.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said the decision was a welcome vote of confidence in the organisers’ ability to further develop the event and continue to broaden its appeal in the future.

“This consolidates the partnership we have with Argyll and Bute Council, and reinforces our joint ambition to ensure that this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering once again proves to be one of Scotland’s premier family events,” he added.

“The Gathering is Argyll and Bute’s largest annual event, and as such has a major economic impact not just on Cowal but on the wider area as well.

“The Council’s decision to maintain funding levels means that we now have a fantastic opportunity to further enhance the Games for the benefit of competitors and spectators alike.”

Plans are being drawn up for new attractions and entertainment such as demonstrations by the Clan Mountain Bike Stunt Team, a temporary mountain bike track in the stadium, a digital hub, family sport opportunities, arts workshops and a ‘Best of Argyll’ area with high quality local producers promoting and selling local food and drink.

“We’d like to create a more festival-type feel to the event, while of course retaining its core competitive and cultural elements,” Ronnie said.

“We believe this will broaden its appeal and so help attract new visitors, while at the same time catering for the many thousands of people who have had the Cowal Highland Gathering inked into their diary for many years.

“This vote of confidence from the council enables us to press on with our development plans, and we very much look forward to putting on a spectacular event come the end of August.”

According to an equation used by Event Scotland, the 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering generated £1.9million for the Scottish economy – with just over £1million of that directly benefitting Argyll and Bute.

In addition, the economic impact review of last year’s event shows the return on investment to Argyll and Bute is £16 for every £1 of Council support.

Councillor Vivien Dance, Argyll and Bute’s policy lead for Sustainable Environment, Renewables and Strategic Tourism, said: “This historic event attracts participants and spectators from around the world, and is a fantastic opportunity to show people some of the best of what Argyll and Bute has to offer.

“We wish to support the Gathering’s organisers as they meet the challenges posed by the loss of ‘major’ status and try new ideas for this year as they aim to ensure that it continues to be a very significant contributor to the local economy.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to work in partnership with the CHG and present no impediment to the Gathering going ahead this year. As the figures from last year show, our investment potentially has a huge return – not just financially but also in terms of raising the area’s profile both nationally and internationally – and we look forward to engaging with the organisers to review the event early in the autumn and wish them every success in 2014.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering takes place from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.