Following the announcement by the Board of Ayr Horticultural Society that Ayr Flower Show will not run in 2017 or subsequent years, South Ayrshire Council has responded with a statement from Lesley Bloomer, Executive Director – Economy, Neighbourhood and Environment:
"We wholly recognise the huge amount of work the Board of Ayrshire Horticultural Society has undertaken in running Ayr Flower Show over the past 16 years.
"The Council – and our predecessor authorities – have supported the Ayr Flower Show for a number of years, running the event from 1960-1999 before the decision to withdraw the funding, in 2000, for financial reasons.
"We continued to support Ayrshire Horticultural Society – primarily in kind – when it reinstated the event in 2001 and worked closely with them to build a successful event. At their request, and to minimise any risk to the event, we agreed a three-year funding package for 2013-15 specifically for the purpose of underwriting the event – for example, if there was poor weather that impacted on visitor numbers.
"There was a full draw down of these funds (£20,000 per year) in each of these years. In fact, in 2015, the funding was provided, exceptionally, in advance due to the Flower Show's cash flow difficulties.
"During this period, we worked closely with the Board to provide support for them to look at alterations to their business model to improve the sustainability of the event; however, this did not lead to any significant improvement in their financial position.
"In 2016, the decision was taken not to underwrite that year's Flower Show; however, we did provide marketing support worth around £2,500 and also provided, prepared and cleared up the event site – worth an estimated £9,000.
"The Board's statement today is disappointing as it's fair to say that our support allowed the Flower Show to continue for longer than may have been feasible otherwise and masked financial difficulties that had existed for some time.
"However, we appreciate how sad and difficult it must be for them to take the decision that the current business model cannot continue."