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Profits for future events

By Staff Reporter

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Thousands attended each Piping At Forres event in Grant Park.
Thousands attended each Piping At Forres event in Grant Park.

A COMPANY started using profits from the European Pipe Band Championships hopes to help create new occasions in the area.

Forres Events Ltd (FEL) was set up in 2012 and is run on a not-for-profit basis by directors Alan James, Joanna Taylor and Eddie Tomkinson to benefit Forres and Moray by encouraging people into the area, offering showcases for local businesses to visitors to events, supporting local activities and "developing the team, reserves and delivery mechanism to take the running of events forward".

The current directors were chosen based on their skills, enthusiasm, time and attitude that they could offer. A FEL spokesperson confirmed the organisation has no employees but is recruiting to assist in developing new events and opportunities using the £141,668 it has in reserves.

She said: "From the start, it was envisaged that FEL would, over time, put on other events that provided an economic benefit to the local area. To achieve this, it needed to build financial reserves and event experience, as well as create a team.

"The European Pipe Band Championships, AKA Piping At Forres, was well supported by the community. Building reserves was important in ensuring that the risks were not so great that the event could not continue because of poor weather or other external factors which would seriously affect attendance. Apart from giving many people a great day out, what was really pleasing about the Championships was that research showed each one created an economic benefit of over a million pounds to the area."

Initially set up to run the European Pipe Band Championships for 2012 to 2015, FEL successfully rebid for the Championships for the years 2016 to 2018.

However, in 2017, a decision was made not to bid for a third three-year term to give those involved, volunteers and sponsors alike, a break. Initially asked to support the event for three years, they had in fact supported a six-year term.

This summer, FEL's directors researched other events and are considering their next moves. They have been in discussions with other parties and continue to focus on events that will encourage people into the area and benefit Forres economically.

The spokesperson said: "While not every event can generate the level of economic benefit that Piping At Forres did, the directors are mindful that the reserves have been built up with the support of many across the community. They need to be invested carefully in a future event or events that should benefit the whole community and provide enjoyment whilst allowing reserves to be maintained for continued future use."

She added: "There are tentative plans for an event in 2021. Piping At Forres took years of planning and any future event(s) will likewise take time to evaluate. People interested in any plans will understand that to share them too soon may hinder rather than help their development."

In the meantime, FEL will continue support the Highland Games, British Legion Remembrance Day parade, RAF Lossiemouth and the Rotary Club of Forres’ fireworks through loaning equipment without charge. FEL originally invested in the equipment to more efficiently and safely run the European Pipe Band Championships. FEL also continues to use its experience to support other local organisations and events. For example, a FEL director and committee members supported Moray Speyside at Visit Scotland’s annual Expo event, engaging with tourism representatives from all over the world. Banners and ‘no waiting cones’ have been used for example, by Forres Features Limited, the Forres Highland Gand the Rotary Club for the fireworks. The team has also offered their support by way of intellectual know-how to others running or organising events.

The sixth and final visit of the European Pipe Band Championships to Grant Park.
The sixth and final visit of the European Pipe Band Championships to Grant Park.

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