Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 17:43 UK

Positive feedback over horse fair

Police at Appleby Horse Fair
The clean-up operation after the fair in June was deemed a success

The 2009 Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria was "safer, more enjoyable and better coordinated" than previous years, according to an evaluation report.

A multi-agency group took over running the event last year and introduced improved toilet provision as well as educational and cultural activities.

The new arrangements received positive feedback from the Gypsy and traveller community and residents.

Thousands attend the annual event, one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

The Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) which is responsible for its co-ordination has undertaken a detailed evaluation process since the fair in June.

Challenged myths

This included a public agency debrief, feedback from the Gypsy and traveller community, and public meetings.

Kevin Douglas, chair of the MASCG and chief executive of Eden District Council, said: "The clean-up operation, increased cultural activities and improved communication via the new dedicated website have been real success stories."

David Sheard, Cumbria County Council's representative on the group, said that one of the aims was to education people about Gypsy and traveller culture.

"This year we saw local school children, residents and visitors to the fair all being educated about a way of life that many people know very little about," he said.

"We have challenged many myths and stereotypes, broadened horizons and built links which hopefully will benefit the fair for years to come."

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