Bridgwater Carnival Collections benefit both the Carnival and local Charities, this income is vital to keep the Carnival alive. We have collectors with tins and collection carts in the procession for you to throw your money in.
Charities and local Community Groups are selected each year to benefit from the carnival collection, the main criteria being that any monies collected should be used to benefit local people and provide collectors for Carnival night. Charities or Groups who collect receive a share of the amount they collect, so the harder they work the more they benefit.
The licence for the collections will be held by the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee and is granted by Sedgemoor District Council. Collection buckets and I.D. badges will be supplied by the carnival committee to official collectors, collections take place at the Friday Fireworks, Carnival Day & during the Carnival procession. If your charity or group wish to apply to collect please complete the Collection Questionnaire and return it to Mike either by completing it online and saving it (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) and emailing it to Mike as an attachment or print off and return to Mike Dodden at 34 North Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3YD.
The collections prior to 1963 were carried out by the St Johns Ambulance. Since that date the Carnival Committee have taken responsibility themselves and the collection has gone from £245 in 1963 to a peak of £30,701 in 2006. Some noticeable changes being in 1985 when the £1 coin was introduced, unfortunately for us most people had worked out what they were by 1986. A wet night also has a marked influence on the collection, although this rarely happens you can see the impact in 1995 & 2005 for example and in 2000 when much of the country was flooded although it was dry for Bridgwater Carnival.
The committee has had several Collection Officers over the years, the longest reigning being Bill Holland who was in charge from 1963 until 1985, Dave Croker took over for the period 1986 until 1996, followed by Mike Searle for the period 1997 until 2001 and Wayne Anker for 2002, then in 2003 until 2014 we had Mark Robson who managed to get us the highest collection ever to date. We once again have a new man in charge for 2015 with Jon Jacobs (pictured above) taking over, we await with anticipation to see what he can achieve!
Well 2006 brought a nice dry night, albeit a cold one and with an excellent crowd the collection rose to £30,701 the highest ever by a small margin. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (a wet night), & 2011 further reductions, the recession starts to bite? So back to the drawing board, we trialled a Saturday carnival in 2012 and did far more advertising including flyers, radio & TV adverts etc. with the hope of stopping the downward spiral. It worked; a dry day, a much increased crowd and although not a vast increase the collection went up for the first time in six years. But unfortunately in 2013 the collection dropped back again with £20,833.68 being collected. 2014 saw one of the largest crowds we have seen and this was reflected in the collection which was £23,739.
The 2016 collection was not a success with the collection nosediving by £5,498 over 2015, however 2017 took us higher giving the highest collection for the last 10 years at £27,575!
Charities & Local Community Groups who benefited by working with us in 2017: 1st Curry Rivel & Drayton Girl Guides: Bridgwater & Albion Youth RFC; Bridgwater Hospital League of Friends; Bridgwater Rotary Club; Bridgwater Sea Cadets; Bridgwater Swimming Club; Bridgwater Talking Newspaper; Cancer Research UK; Cannington Pantomime Society; CLIC Sargent; The Elliot’s Touch Fund; Bridgwater & District Mencap; Mix Youth Project; Rhode Lane Wanderers JFC; Robert Blake Science College; Ron Peberdy Cyberknife Trust; Taunton Association for the Homeless; Towards Tomorrow Together; Young Musical Theatre Company.
If you feel you can help Mike with his task in any way, have any bright ideas how he can increase the collection or would like to make a contribution please contact him direct, he will be pleased to hear from you. Email: Mike Dodden