Community festivals granted a council reprieve

RESIDENTS in Willmot and Bidwill are celebrating after their festivals were given a lifeline.

Independent Russ Dickens came to the party at last week's Blacktown Council meeting after a report recommended the festivals be cancelled because of low patronage in recent years.

Cr Dickens proposed the Willmot and Bidwill communities have two months to form organising committees for the festivals.

Willmot Community Action Group president Peta Kennedy said she was unaware Housing NSW had withdrawn its support since last year's event.

The committee is determined do what it can to ensure the festival continues.

"Willmot is an isolated area," Mrs Kennedy said.

"There are a lot of single mums here who would have difficulty getting to festivals in other areas. Our festival brings the community together. There's nothing else in Willmot."

She questioned the council's estimate that 250 people attended last year's festival.

"Maybe 250 at any one time but there would have been more than that," Mrs Kennedy said.

"A lot of people look forward to the festival. Cancelling it would be taking away from the kids."

Bidwill Uniting Church team leader John Dacey was told a date was locked in for this year's Bidwill Festival but agreed the festival needed revitalising.

"I think it could do with more community input and creativity to improve it," Mr Dacey said.

"It's the same for a number of years. It's need to be done in a way where it brings benefits to the community."

Mr Dacey urged residents to take ownership of the festival.

"I would encourage the people of Bidwill to get behind it," he said.

"It's the Bidwill community that benefits from anything that happens here."

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