Fury at fee for soldiers’ charity event in Wrexham

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM Council has been slammed for charging a community group full price to hire a venue for a charity event to support soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

Caia Park Residents’ Panel is staging the £3-a-head fundraiser for armed forces charity Help for Heroes at Wrexham Memorial Hall on Saturday, June 12.

Panel members said they were shocked when they heard they would have to pay about £220 in hire charges to the council.

They must pay £30 an hour between 7pm and midnight but have been granted a discount of £28 an hour between 5pm-7pm while they set up the hall for entertainers, including singers Roy Mack and Catherine Speed and the three winners of the recent Caia’s Got Talent competition.

One of the winners, Abbie Vaughan, 11, will open the event by reading a story she has written about her brother who was left with brain damage after being blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in December, 2008.

Corporal Simon Vaughan, 25, of the Commandos, is still being treated in military hospital.

His grandmother Jean Carroll, 71, of Caia Park, said: “I was disgusted when I heard the panel was being asked to pay.

“Lads like my grandson are laying down their lives for their country and when someone puts on a charity event to help them there is no reduction.

“I am very angry about this.”

Residents’ panel member Lynn Morris said: “We would have expected to get a reduction on hire charges as this is a charity event to support wounded soldiers and their families.

“However, it made no difference when we told them it was in aid of charity. We want as little money as possible to come out of ticket sales, so we are running a car boot sale to cover the hire costs.”

Cllr Carrie Harper, whose Queensway ward includes Caia Park, said: “I think this is absolutely horrendous. I have sent emails to the leader and the chief executive of the council asking them to look into this as a matter of urgency as it reflects very badly on the authority.”

Alan Watkin, the council’s chief leisure, libraries and culture officer, said: “The organisation was quoted £30 per hour to hire the venue, which is the standard peak period charge for all charity and non-commercial events.”

The council has since offered a reduction of £30 on the total cost.

Doors open at 6.30pm and tickets are available from outlets, including Communities First and residents’ associations.

It is also possible to pay at the door on the night.

See full story in the Leader

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