Mansfield council '˜splashed out' on award party for Paralympic swimmers

Mansfield District Council has been criticised after splashing out more than half its entertainment budget on an award ceremony for local Paralympians.

Monday, 2nd January 2017, 9:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 3:49 am
Councillors and invited supports dined out on the taxpayer at the 'Mansfield Honours its Sporting Heroes' event in November. Picture: Sarah Washbourn
Councillors and invited supports dined out on the taxpayer at the 'Mansfield Honours its Sporting Heroes' event in November. Picture: Sarah Washbourn

Champion swimmers Ollie Hynds and Charlotte Henshaw, who both picked up medals at Rio 2016, were awarded the Freedom of Mansfield award at a special event at the Civic Quarter, where supporters and councillors were treated to food and sparkingling wine to honour the swimmers, and their coach Glenn Smith.

An FOI request to the council has revealed that out of their £11,000 annual budget, party planners spent £6,261 on the event on November 11.

In addition to £2,556 on food alone, more than £900 was spent on wine and another £950 on live music. The bill for flowers came to £346 and just under £200 was splashed out on balloons for the invite-only event.

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The event marked the achievements of local paralympians Ollie Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw, and their coach Glenn Smith.

By contrast, £1,300 was spent on the Christmas Lights Switch-on the following week.

Opposition councillor Sonya Ward, Labour, said during unprecedented budget cuts ‘it’s a bad time to be splashing out’.

She said: “It’s brilliant to celebrate these achievements and we need to mark the efforts of people in Mansfield, but it shouldn’t be extravagant so I question the ethics of spending a thousand pounds on wine at a time when we’re under unprecedented budget pressures. It doesn’t sit quite comfortably with me – it wouldn’t have been out the question for attendees to pay for their own drinks.

“There is a budget which is set aside for these events, and £11,000 seems a lot to me, so we ought to be looking at this while we’re asking service managers to reduce costs all the time.”

The event marked the achievements of local paralympians Ollie Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw, and their coach Glenn Smith.

Mansfield District Council is yet to comment.