Tonbridge Calling festival boost after achieving charitable status

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The one-day festival of music and performing arts has been held on the town’s Racecourse Sportsground in the summer since 2016 – though this year’s event had to be cancelled due to high winds.

The recognition from the Charity Commission means that the festival, which was set up to bring the community together and encourage tolerance after the 2016 EU referendum vote, can remain free for visitors.

Treasurer Sophie Quinnell said: “The main effect of becoming a registered charity is that it opens up many more funding options.

“Securing funding during the year is a continuing problem for us and, as we want to keep Tonbridge Calling a free event, being registered puts us in a strong position when applying for grants and other funding streams.”

As well as live music acts, Tonbridge Calling includes belly dancers, circus skills, firefighters and poetry and spoken word performers, along with an array of local food and drink providers and activities for children.

Trustee Faydra Mitchell added: “As a charity Tonbridge Calling will continue to thrive and extend its positive effect through many outreach events in the wider Tonbridge area, to nurture and encourage local performers and expose them to new audiences that will create a legacy for the area for many years to come.”

Fellow organiser Fred Long said: “The new charity status should help us forge stronger and closer links with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Kent County Council and local businesses to make the festival, and associated events through the year, accessible to a much wider audience.

“One of the main design principles for Tonbridge Calling was to enhance the town’s cultural identity and, when backed by all sectors, increase the financial and educational wellbeing of the area.”

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