Shropshire Council has executed a partial U-turn on its cuts to funding for arts and festivals across the county. This is welcome. In a statement to BBC Radio Shropshire, the council said:
We are now reconsidering our position in relation to this matter. We recognise the importance of the arts sector and the additional value they bring and wish to engage and consult more fully with them in the coming weeks on this matter.
We don’t as yet know what is meant by “engage more fully”. I hope it is not yet another consultation where the results are ignored.
Shropshire Council needs to find ways of using its declining budget to leverage other funds – which is what many of the organisations funded by the Revenue Client Grant Scheme did with the grants they received. It needs to call arts organisations together in a round table discussion on how best to use our diminishing funding.
The Revenue Client Grant Scheme
During 2014/15, the total Revenue Client Funding awarded was £65,150 (£48,850 to Arts Organisations/Venues and £16,300 to Festivals).
During 2015/16, the total funding awarded to date is £46,900 (£35,100 to Arts Organisations/Venues and £11,800 to Festivals). There is £200 remaining in the budget.
The grants were awarded to a wide range of festivals, including the Ludlow Fringe, Minsterley Eisteddfod and Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. Flicks in the sticks and Kinokulture Cinema in Oswestry benefited. Scrappies in Church Stretton, a charity that supports creative arts and children’s education gained a grant, as did the Museum of Myth and Fable.