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Cheltenham Literature Festival ‘not going anywhere’ despite funding blow

Cheltenham is one of nine literary festivals calling on supporters for “increased support” amid the sudden loss of funding.

As a group, the nine festivals said their collective efforts had sold £1.5m of books, engaged 64,000 schoolchildren in free activities, offered 99,000 free or subsidised events and reached audiences across all 121 postcodes of the UK.

Baillie Gifford’s sponsorship funded activities and events for children and families such as author reading sessions and stilt-walkers.

Ms Tuxworth said the loss of investment was a blow as the festival was still recovering from Covid and securing funding from various sources was getting harder.

She added that the festival is committed to all its activities for its 75th anniversary 2024 event taking place in October.

“Last year we had 12,000 schoolchildren on site and we’re certainly looking at similar numbers again this year, probably more, which I think shows you how important it is that the festival carries on and they can access these top authors who can inspire children for the rest of their lives.

“Building the site costs about £1.2m and that’s before anyone has even booked a ticket or set foot in any of our venues, and 25% of our events are free.”

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