West Berkshire Council reduce funding to the Corn Exchange by £78,000.
As reported earlier today, West Berkshire Council had to make the difficult decision to reduce our funding by £78,000 over the next two years from 1 April 2017. That means over the last 3 years, our funding from the local authority will have reduced by 55%.
We urgently need your support to raise £25,000 to cover the gap. Today we are launching Love Your Corn Exchange and we are asking you to make a donation of £10* to support us in our plight.
TO MAKE A DONATION YOU CAN:
- Phone our Box Office on 0845 5218 218**
- Give online at www.cornexchangenew.com/donate
- Text CORN15 £10 to 70070 or
- Send a cheque made payable to Corn Exchange (Trust) to Love Your Corn Exchange, Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD
Whilst we are hugely fortunate to have strong support from our audiences, stakeholders and funding partners, our grant from the Council specifically funds activities at the Corn Exchange. Funding for the projects we announced earlier this year comes from other grant giving organisations and is entirely ring-fenced for our new Learning Centre and the expansion of 101. So the reduction in funding from the Council, will directly impact events at the Corn Exchange and the very short timeframe creates immediate challenges for us.
Last year, our appeal raised in excess of £12,000 and every pound you donate this year will be matched by Arts Council England, meaning your £10 will be worth £20 (or £22.50 if your donation is eligible for Gift Aid).
Your donation is a vital lifeline and will help to sustain the Corn Exchange and the range of activities and services we deliver for the community of West Berkshire. Help us today and by working together you will be helping the Corn Exchange to continue making a positive impact in your community.
No doubt you have some questions about this appeal so we’ve put some to our Co-Directors, Katy and Grant, to answer. This is what they told us:
Why has the Council been forced to make this cut without it going to public consultation?
'The Council consulted on our funding in 2016 and at this point we understand the Council agreed to reduce our funding to £174,000 for the three remaining years of our Service Level Agreement. However, they were able to ‘top up’ that funding using Transitional Funding. This funding pot came directly from central government to help the Council make reductions in a more manageable way. Unfortunately we have been told there are no longer sufficient funds in this pot to support the Corn Exchange due to other pressures within the Council’s budget.'
What impact does this cut have on the future projects you announced in February?
'In February we announced a new partnership with Greenham Common Trust to open a new arts facility at Greenham Business Park in 2018. In addition, we announced that we’d be launching a Newbury-based Learning Centre for much of our participatory work in September. These developments are both funded by Greenham Common Trust and ring-fenced for these activities. Therefore, none of this funding can be diverted to fill the gap created by the Council'
What about the expansion plans at 101 that are being funded by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence grant?
'These plans will not be affected. As with the funding from Greenham Common Trust, this grant from Arts Council England is ring-fenced for the development of 101.'
You’re being cut by the Council by £78,000 so why do you have a fundraising target of £25,000?
'The cut in 2017/18 is £44,000 and we’re confident that we’ll be able to make-up the difference through a combination of cost-saving and increased income. The reduction in our electricity costs following the installation of the solar panels in 2016 will go some way towards this.'
You’ve also started conversations with the Council about transferring the ownership of the Corn Exchange building to Trust, why have you proposed this?
'Over the last year we have been thinking about our future partnership with the Council in the knowledge that their financial constraints are not going to become any easier. In conversation with our other core-funders Arts Council England and Greenham Common Trust, we all believe that transferring ownership of the building to the Trust will provide a more secure and stable financial future. It means our assets will far outweigh our financial liabilities and thereby put us in a stronger position to protect the building and facilities for cultural activities for future generations of audiences and participants.'
*£10 is a suggested donation. Simply amend the denomination to donate more or less
**Calls will cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company's access charge