PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR JUSTICE, CULTURE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: New fund to focus on improving safety in fireworks factories

A new fund will focus on improving safety in fireworks factories as well as contributing to the betterment of the final product, especially due to the prominent role this industry plays in Maltese culture and celebrations. This is helping to strengthen this sector as well as to make it more popular, with both locals and tourists alike.

During the fund’s launch at Fortress Builders, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici stated that, while the spectacular displays that light up our skies are renowned for their high level of artistry and creativity, a lot of hard work behind the scenes is done to ensure a smooth outcome. This fund is being launched before the start of the festa season, to kickstart this increase in security. This sector is well-loved by Maltese and Gozitans alike, most of which eagerly await their festa each year � as well as those who also enjoy the result of this hard work, which has also proven popular overseas.

The fund, which offers financial support to Maltese fireworks factories working on a voluntary basis, will allocate grants to fireworks factories in Malta to improve their infrastructure so that volunteers can work in a safer environment. The aim is to improve safety during both the manufacturing process, as well as during the letting off of the fireworks. The grant is also intended for volunteers to invest in resources to improve the safety of the Maltese pyrotechnic product.

Managed by Arts Council Malta, within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, a total of Euros 170,000 will be allocated for this fund for 2018. Each fireworks factory can benefit from a Euros 5,000 grant, all of which can be put to infrastructural use. If allocated to current expenses, these cannot exceed 40% of the requested amount and must also be related to safety.

Fireworks and the artistic skills that go into their manufacture are not only an integral part of our culture � but they often lie at the very heart of the community, said Arts Council Malta executive chair Albert Marshall. Community exchange is one of the five strategic focuses running through Arts Council Malta’s Strategy 2020, the Council’s five-year plan for the cultural and creative sectors.

In order to qualify for this fund, the fireworks factories are required to come up with ideas and proposals on how they can achieve the upgrade of the factories themselves; invest in the infrastructure of the fireworks factories; invest in machinery and tools which facilitate the manufacture of fireworks and make the process safer; invest in equipment which improves safety during the letting off of fireworks; invest in training resources related to the safety of fireworks, and how they can foster better collaboration between Maltese fireworks factories.

The fund is open to licensed fireworks factories registered as voluntary organisations. In the case of fireworks factories forming part of band clubs, the band club needs to be registered as a voluntary organisation.

All eligible applications will be evaluated by a board of evaluators according to established and published guidelines.

Applications will be available from the Arts Council Malta reception desk in Valletta, or from www.artscouncilmalta.org from 19th March. Completed applications need to be received by hand by 30th April 2018 at noon.

Source: Government of Malta