On behalf of the Cypriot Wine Festival & Business Expo Management Committee, I regretfully inform our community that due to mishandling on part of the venue, this year’s CWFexpo will not be taking place as scheduled on 17th & 18th June.
Given the prominence of the CWFexpo both as an event, and as a cultural focal point in our community calendar, even more so now given the separation which the Covid 19 Pandemic caused to us as a community, we consider it is important to provide our community with some context as to how we now find ourselves in this unfortunate situation.
Arrangements were running as planned and to schedule, we had secured the dates for the 2023 event promptly after the conclusion of 2022’s event, however, due to a series of delays by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) the operator of the Lee Valley Athletics Centre (‘LVAC’) and the administrators of the Lee Valley Leisure Complex being Lee Valley Park Authority (‘LVPA’) who are a part of Enfield Council, in respect of the provision of a finalised contract for our hire of the LVAC we were unable to begin marketing the event with our potential event partners, potential exhibitors, and of course the general public. Naturally, this would have a significant impact on the overall success of the event. A regular and constant effort was made on our part to express to the relevant public bodies, including in particular LVPA, the need to clarify their position on what exactly was required of us in order to conclude the final contract for our hire of the LVAC. A previous contract had been agreed on 23 January 2023 and had been signed by the Management Committee but was never signed by LVAC (GLL).
After some weeks of silence, notwithstanding our chasing (which included over the Christmas and New Year period) for a co-signed version of the agreed contract, and much to our surprise, at the beginning of this year the contract we had signed was withdrawn by GLL on behalf of LVAC, and a new set of very detrimental and ostensibly punitive restrictions were presented to us that severely restricted the capacity for the event within the LVAC and this was coupled with increased the running costs of the event and prevented certain core elements of the event from continuing altogether, involving the covering of the newly laid track, and that works were to be soon undertaken at the LVAC, which would likely interfere with the event. The issues of security and capacity had been resolved and we were not anticipating further restrictive measures as these had been resolved in our previous discussions with GLL on behalf of LVAC months prior to this, However, despite this setback, we did not rest and worked hard to find alternative solutions. We did our utmost to try to negotiate and planned for alternative scenarios to work within these new restrictions. The very format of the event was called into question, changing our grand tradition into something different, something new but not better or desirable.
Although this was not desirable, we tried to make it work in order to not lose this major community event from our calendars and in turn we petitioned on some vital points using precedents and just as we were making headway with the latest version of our agreement, it was retracted, absent any notice and we were forced back to the drawing board once again. Unfortunately, we were left with very little time to come up with a workable solution as the venue’s requirements of us to provide revised material and information within an unreasonably short timescale, whilst we were not able to promote the event even publicly, created an entirely unviable scenario.
As community spokespeople, the Management Committee did their very best to try to ensure the CWFexpo would take place even with the most essential elements forcibly limited by the other stakeholders.
At times, we face difficulties and challenges, however, we are more determined than ever to ensure that this event lives on! It must be held from generation to generation as the celebration of the Cypriot community and all its achievements. Since 1982, we have faced many difficult times persevering through venue changes, recessions and pandemics and that same spirit of our predecessors lives on.
We will not let this deter us from being a platform for unifying Cypriot culture and businesses with that of the UK. The Management Committee feels so strongly about the loss of CWFexpo, as its milestone community calendar, that it is currently taking legal advice on its options as regards what has taken place and its treatment by GLL and LVPA. If any further action is taken it will be for the community.
We will be back!