Sail for Gold refused grant by Weymouth

Cash-strapped Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is reported to be the only council out of three in Dorset to turn down a £7,000 grant request by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Sailing academy bosses at Portland need help to support this year’s Sail for Gold event, the nation’s only international Olympic-class regatta which brings together the world’s top sailors.

WPNSA sought a £7,000 grant from both the borough and district councils, and £10,000 from the county council. It approached local authorities after the regatta lost its main sponsor, Skandia. The academy is looking for sponsors in the long term but wants to fund this year’s event itself together with its partners at the Royal Yachting Association.

WPNSA Chief executive, John Tweed said: “It’s disappointing the borough council has turned us down." He said study by Bournemouth University showed that the 2010 Sail for Gold regatta generated £2million for the local economy.

Borough councillors believe the academy should seek sponsorship instead of asking for financial help from the authority, which is having to make drastic spending cuts.

Councillors were divided on the issue at a meeting, given the impact of Sail for Gold. It has generated millions for the local economy over the years as people involved stay, eat and shop locally.

More here by Dorset Echo