New fund for fireworks factories to focus on improving safety

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New fund for fireworks factories to focus on improving safetyA new fund has been launched today, which the government said, “will focus on improving safety in fireworks factories as well as contributing to the betterment of the final product.”

Managed by Arts Council Malta, within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, a total of €170,000 will be allocated for this fund for 2018.

Each fireworks factory can benefit from a €5,000 grant, all of which can be put to infrastructural use. The government said that if allocated to current expenses, these cannot exceed 40% of the requested amount and must also be related to safety.

In a statement the government said the fund is particularly necessary because of “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.”

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici stated at the launch that, the fund is being launched before the start of the festa season, to kickstart this increase in security.

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.

The Minister explained that 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.

Other requirements include that the funds must be used to 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.

He also said that 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.

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 from the 19th of March. Completed applications need to be received by hand no later than noon on Monday, the 30th of April.

Photographs by Alain Salvary

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