t is with an absolute heavy heart that we have to inform you that we will not be able to deliver this year's Christmas market for Tenterden. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but have had to take faced with continual spiralling costs and uncertainties. The budget for previous markets provided by us have always been built on a 'break-even model’. As a CIC we raise funds to cover the event (with 2019 and previous having always seen a budget of about £25k to deliver the event) which is built through stallholders fees, alongside public and private grants. This year has seen the costs rise exponentially (just to give a little bit of an indication on just costs alone; in areas such as insurance, first aid and the big one electric, they have actually more than doubled - almost tripled!) We have applied for many grants, and tried to get the event underwritten for a large deficit but one of the biggest pain points throughout is that we would have had to pass most of those costs on to our stallholders and remove many of the things that make the Christmas market, a festive Christmas market! Most stalls would have had to increase by a minimum of £50 - £100 and we just don’t feel that is in line with what we set out to offer. Especially within the current climate and not being able to forecast just how successful it would be for everyone. (We know not all event organisers do, but we take all of the stalls & local businesses wins and losses on board and if there were any negatives over the weekend, when marketed at an increased cost, and it didn’t deliver, I'm not sure we’d really ever lose that. As you all know, we deliver this event as two ‘resident’ individuals that love to champion the local area. There is JUST the two of us and we put our day jobs on hold for the months surrounding the event to support the wonderful atmosphere and joy it brings. We have always been happy to do this and put ‘our market baby’ first but unfortunately, this time it’s more than just our time - the figures just don’t add up no matter what way we work them - and as two individuals who deliver all of this for the town, we just cannot financially underwrite this activity on the town's behalf. WHY WE’RE ADVISING THIS NOW September 1st was a pivotal point in our budget and income forecasting for the event, re what income we could raise to off set costs - we have juggled and reworked it all to the nth degree and the maths just doesn't work out. Event Stallholders - There is still time to secure a winter event : We have been contacted to say there are still spaces available at Canterbury, Faversham & Leeds Castle. LIGHT TRAIL CROWDFUNDER Alongside this, you may already know, it had been our plan to deliver a 4 day light trail to compliment the market. The delivery of these 2 events were always interdependent to enable cost savings, however the pending challenges around escalating energy bills, hikes in raw material costs and subsequent increases in service provision charges has resulted in them both being untenable. By taking this painful decision now, we can reimburse all individuals, businesses and organisations 100% from the 2021 crowd funding campaign, so that they can redeploy those funds elsewhere. This does have a cost implication to the Christmas in Tenterden CIC, but is one that we 100% will honour and absorb. We can’t even begin to tell you the hours / lengths we have gone to to make this work for the town, but as two residents, we just can’t underwrite a town event of this scale. We were blown away by the support from individuals and businesses this time last year by the financial pledges of support, and for that we can’t thank you enough. But, none of us could have predicted the current situation following the impact of the pandemic last year. We know many of you will find this news deeply disappointing and we hope that you will understand our situation. This has been an incredibly stressful and difficult decision for us to take, but by taking it now we can at least 100% reimburse everyone at a time when finances are increasingly needed. We are so very sorry to have to let you all down, neither of us have found it easy to let go and admit defeat, but we hope you can understand our position and support our reasons for taking this path. Please do email us directly at [email protected] if you would like any more information or would just like to speak to us in more detail. We wish you all the best for the winter, with events, in business, and personally, With love Seren & Tash