Arts Funding Information

Somerset County Council Meeting Arts Protest

Event Details

Somerset County Council Meeting Arts Protest

Time: November 1, 2010 all day
Location: Taunton Conference Centre, Somerset Collage Campus
Street: Wellington Road (A38)
City/Town: Taunton
Event Type: arts, funding, protest
Organized By: Take Art (info via Rachael Duthie)
Latest Activity: Nov 1, 2010

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Event Description

We have heard today that Somerset County Council’s Cabinet will be meeting on Monday 1 November to discuss a budget proposal to stop ALL funding for the Arts in Somerset as from 2011/12. Decisions will be ratified at a full council meeting on the 10th November.

We want as many people as possible, not just those of us working in the arts, to be aware of this. As the information has only just be announced, no formal campaign strategy has been devised yet. And there’s not much time. In the first instance, we suggest the following:

Encourage people to attend the meeting on Monday 1st November at 10am at The Taunton Conference Centre on the Somerset College Campus, Taunton - artists, practitioners, supporters, audiences, participants – as many as possible. Those that can’t get in can mill around outside prior to 10am – maybe convene at 9.15am or earlier with banners, flags, stilt-walking etc. as councillors arrive. Having a big presence is crucial. Parking isn’t good so be prepared – please see attached information. We will try to let you know as soon as we can if something is organised - where to meet, what time etc
Questions can be asked by the public at the beginning of the meeting. There is a protocol for asking questions – requests have to be made in advance of the day – please see attached information. This is key.
Contact SCC Conservative cabinet members – the revised list of 6 is below - before the meeting. Write to them, email them, phone them. Their contact details are attached.
Contact other conservative politicians in the same way, there are 30 or so: their details are on the SCC website. Don’t just rely on email.
Come up with your own key messages from your own perspectives to illustrate the benefits of arts funding public guidance notes and meeting location plan 1 Nov 2010.pdfSCC.Cabinet_Members.doc
Put the news on your websites, facebook, twitter etc etc – rally as much support as you can.

We are living in unprecedented times and urgent action is required. We’ll let you know any more information when we can.

Comment Wall

Comment by John Munro on October 28, 2010 at 9:11
The I Value the Arts Campaign sent out this email to its Somerset sign-ups last night. I would urge anyone with contacts in somerset to forward this message to them:

Dear friend,

The Cabinet of Somerset County Council is meeting on 1 November to discuss axing the funding it gives to a number of arts organisations in the county from 2011/12. This could result in 10 arts organisations in Somerset losing ALL of their funding from the County Council. Final funding decisions are not being taken at this meeting, though this discussion will form the background for decisions being taken in the near future. The council expects that this withdrawal of funding will mean that a number of these orgainsations will not be financially viable going forward.

Following 28% cuts to local government funding in the spending review, all local authorities are reviewing their budgets. If you care about arts provision in your area and believe that artistic activity and opportunities should continue to be supported, you need to take action now.

There are three important things you can do to show decision makers how much you value the arts in Somerset and why they should too:

1. Attend the meeting
It is important that as many people as possible turn up to support the arts in Somerset. Good attendance from people who value the arts will show Councillors that the arts in Somerset are vital, valued and should not be cut.

The council's Cabinet will meet at 10 am on Monday 1 November at the Auditorium, Taunton Conference Centre, Somerset College, Wellington Road, Taunton.

You may ask a question or make a statement during the Public Question Time section of the meeting. If you wish to speak, you will need to contact Vicki May on 01823 357148 or by no later than 12pm on Friday 29 October. Any requests to speak made after this time will not be considered.

Full guidance notes for the public can be downloaded here

2. Write to your councillors
If you cannot attend the meeting, you can still make your views known by writing to your councillors and giving personal reasons why the arts are important to you.

You can find out who represents you on Somerset County Council by clicking here and entering your postcode. You can then obtain full contact details for your councillor here

You may also wish to make some or all of the following points:

The arts and a cultural life really matter to people and make a difference to their lives.
In England alone there are 49,150 amateur groups across the country with total membership of 5.9 million, and a further 3.5 million volunteering as extras or helpers, making a total of 9.4 million people taking part in the arts.

If possible provide local employment statistics. [Arts Council funded organisations alone in England sustain the employment of approximately 48,500 people, with a further 17,900 working in a voluntary capacity.]
Arts centres, theatres, studios, galleries, etc., are mini industries in each community, employing local people.
People working in the arts locally form an important part of the fabric of community. (It is worth noting too that people involved in the arts tend to be outgoing by nature, be more involved in the community, and more likely to vote!)

Local arts events, such as festivals, concerts, plays, music sessions or exhibitions, are vital for attracting tourists, marking out a community as special and different.

Attractive places to live and visit are also attractive to businesses and investment. The arts also play a vital role in maintaining a smart, flexible, innovative workforce.
The creative

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