04:00PM, Tuesday 16 February 2021
The Old Court in Windsor is still hopeful of seeing a return to arts grants in the future as it faces heavy cuts in the council budget.
The 2021/22 budget would reduce funding for the arts from £233,000 down to £120,000.
This is projected to save the council £113,000 for 2021/22.
The Royal Borough has acknowledged that this will impact arts organisations’ scope of services they will be able to deliver.
To mitigate the effect, the borough is proposing a one-off package ‘to support transition to a future sustainable financial model’.
The one-off support package of £50,000 will mainly be directed to The Old Court in Windsor and Norden Farm in Maidenhead, though how this will be divided is not yet decided.
The aim is to have this amount matched by other organisations, such as the Arts Council, to get as much funding as possible.
The council would provide the first quarter funding while seeking to generate match funding.
“There is a reduction [in arts support] due to the financial pressures but it’s still a significant funding,” said lead member for resident and leisure services, Councillor Samantha Rayner.
“There is no definitive split yet for the £50,000 as that’s a matter of working out with arts organisations the best opportunities to deliver art for our residents.
“The work of the arts in the borough is incredible and has huge public support and we are keen to still support and hope that through our discussions we can do this.”
Director of The Old Court Martin Denny said: “Times are difficult for everyone at present, and the council is no exception. The pandemic has led to a big fall in income, and measures have to be taken in response.
“Cuts to the arts grants are being made alongside many other cuts and we are doing everything we can to work with these, to find alternative sources of funding, and to do so with support from RBWM.
“We hope that the council will see fit to return to funding arts grants in the Royal Borough after the budget period in question comes to an end.
“This will enable planning for the future and allow cuts in the immediate term to be withstood as best as possible.”
Discussions with The Old Court and others affected by the cuts are currently ongoing.
The council will vote on budget proposals at the end of the month.
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