Kingston Carnival 2019 will go ahead next month with support from crowdfunding after the Arts Council England rejected a funding application.

The carnival unites Kingstonians every year with a procession and celebrations of music, dance, food and cultural traditions in the town.

The organisers, among them Kingston Race Equalities Council (KREC), said that they were turning to crowdfunding after their application for funds was rejected by Arts Council England.

The Comet spoke with KREC CEO John Azah, who helped found Kingston Carnival 18 years ago.

He confirmed that the carnival would "definitely go ahead" after they received some "good news" from supporters this week, and praised Kingston Council (RBK) for their support in particular.

"We were notified recently that the grant application we made at RBK has been approved — Kingston Council will contribute some emergency funding for us.

"If you take the situation in context, the council have been really supportive and positive with us for what they can contribute definitively to make sure that we have the basic core foundation that we can build on.

"Of course we want more money, but we're also realistic that there is only so much they can contribute and we need to seek funding from other sources too," Mr Azah said.

It is not the first time that RBK have stepped in to support Kingston Carnival.

Arts Council England rejected a funding in 2017, and RBK stepped in to help make up the funding gap.

A spokesperson for RBK told the Comet that the council would take similar action this year.

"Kingston Council and its stakeholders are committed to working with Kingston Carnival to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable event for our communities.

"Kingston Carnival has to apply for Arts Council funding annually — it is an incredibly competitive process and unfortunately their application was unsuccessful this year.

"Kingston Council continues to support Kingston Carnival in its endeavours to stage Carnival within the budget it has now secured from other sponsors and funders, including the Council," the spokesperson said.

The competitive nature of applying to a national body for targeted cultural funding was also alluded to by Arts Council England, who offered the following explanation for their decision:

"There is significant competition for all of our funding programmes, including National Lottery Project Grants, and applications are assessed against clear criteria.

"The programme is particularly competitive, and therefore not all applications can be funded and on this occasion Kingston Carnival was one of those applications.

"We always advise applicants to factor in other potential funding options into their plans in case their application is unsuccessful," an Arts Council England spokesperson said.

Surrey Comet: Image: Luiza Gaman / FacebookImage: Luiza Gaman / Facebook

The gap in funding for the Carnival left by the Arts Council's decision was around £15,000, Mr Azah said.

As such, the crowdfunding mission in aid of this year's Carnival aims to raise around £10,000 after the contributions from RBK and other businesses in the area.

"In the final analysis we've had to ask our supporters to contribute and so far there has been some good news this week," the KREC CEO said.

"We also launched a GoFundMe website and set ourselves a target of £10,000.

"Things are now going in the right direction.

"Obviously what we're looking for is for Kingston to get up and put its hands in its pockets so that we can have a spectacular event.

"It might not end up being everything we were hoping for but we aim for a Carnival that will really sell the town and make sure that we continue to punch above our weight.

"I'm really excited about the prospects — but we're not out of the woods yet!" Mr Azah added.

Kingston Carnival is taking place in Kingston from 12pm on Saturday, September 1.

To donate to the crowdfunding campaign, go to: