Cape Town 090226: Children enjoying the rides at the Community Chest Carnival held at Maynardville in Wynberg. Photo Daylin Paul

Cape Town -

There will be no tombola or beer garden in Wynberg next month, as the iconic Community Chest Carnival, which raises funds for more than 300 charities, has been cancelled for the first time in 65 years.

Community Chest chief executive officer Lorenzo Davids said without corporate and individual donations of goods that could be sold at the carnival, the event was no longer financially viable. “The bottom line is that we wouldn’t be able to generate money for charity and we can’t ethically (have) the carnival and tell the public that it’s for charity.”

If the March carnival had to go ahead, it would run at a loss of about R200 000. Davids said the decision to pull the plug just weeks before the event would have taken place, was “tragic and devastating”.

There had been a dwindling in support from corporates and individual donors over the past five years, to the point where donations had dropped by 70 percent.

The charity environment had changed, with corporates not wanting to donate to a community carnival. Individuals were opting to take their second-hand goods to places like Cash Crusaders, where they could get some money in return. There was also increased competition for donations. “We have not been immune to these funding challenges.”

But Davids was confident that the Community Chest’s board and management team would be able to come up with a more effective financial model in time for the carnival next year.

They planned to meet the City of Cape Town, the provincial government and other donors in March.

He added: “But we are not going to reduce the funding we have always given to our charities.” The Community Chest would approach corporates and sponsors for direct funding so that charities would still get financial support.

Cape Argus