Sheffield Council delays long-term DocFest funding plan for 30th anniversary

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Sheffield Council is set to approve £100,000 to support DocFest’s 30th anniversary festival next year before deciding longer-term funding.

The council’s grant arrangement with the week-long international documentary film festival came to an end this year but rather than agree a new long-term plan, the council has given a one-year extension.

It is providing £100,000 for 2023 from its major events budget before deciding on future sponsorship.

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This is £50,000 – a third – less than what the authority has been giving DocFest.

Sheffield Doc/Fest visitors.Sheffield Doc/Fest visitors.
Sheffield Doc/Fest visitors.

The June festival – which has been hosted in Sheffield for three decades – brings an estimated £1.4 million spending to the city every year.

In a report prepared for a meeting of the finance sub committee next week, officers said: “Hosting the festival adds to the city’s reputation as a cultural and creative destination, enhancing its appeal both to visitors, businesses and those who may wish to move to Sheffield to work. This is in line with our economic aims and aims to make Sheffield a ‘magnet city’.

“Providing a one-year extension whilst a longer term agreement is reached ensures stability and viability for Sheffield DocFest whilst they continue to recover from the pandemic (and international travel recovers globally). It ensures that the festival organisers are in a position to plan ahead and develop the festival whilst DocFest recruits and develops their senior team for the years ahead. The council will also be able to review its position in 2023 and decide how best to continue any further sponsorship to Doc/Fest.”

The finance sub committee meeting will take place on Monday, November 7 from 2pm