Possible reprieve for music service

By David Newble

Saturday, May 3, 2014


THE under-threat Isle of Wight music service looks set to be spared the axe until August next year.

Controversial proposals to cut £240,000 funding for the beleaguered service were due to go before the Isle of Wight Council’s executive next Tuesday.

However, in a revised paper released by the authority yesterday (Friday), the council proposed a delay in cutting the grant until August 31, 2015.

The service was due to be cut this summer with the loss of dozens of jobs, after the Isle of Wight Council, which employs 26 music service staff, said it could no longer afford to underwrite its losses.

The music service is the lead partner in the Island’s Music Education Hub, which is funded through Arts Council England (ACE).

According to ACE, the hub, which also comprises schools, community groups and ensembles, had failed to develop a vibrant and sustainable business plan.

At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s scrutiny panel on Thursday Cllr Chris Whitehouse called for the council to harness the energy of the Isle of Wight’s 'vibrant’ music scene.

He said: "The Island has every sort of music festival imaginable."

The council’s executive member for children’s services and education Cllr Richard Priest said he had spoken to Bestival curator Rob da Bank to explore ways in he could be involved in the service.

He said: "There is a massive music culture on the Isle of Wight and we need to line the up the service with that."

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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