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Cuts threaten the future of Lancashire Sinfonietta
EAST Lancashire is in danger of losing its cultural ‘pride and joy’ due to local funding cuts.
Lancashire Sinfonietta faces losing 50 per cent of its budget, an amount of around £60,000 to £70,000 following the withdrawal of funding from Lancashire County Council.
The group now faces making bids to various funding pots alongside dozens of competitors.
The sinfonietta is made up of A-list soloists, directors and orchestral musicians, whose aim is to keep a passion for music within the county.
The group has bases in Clitheroe, Burnley and Nelson and features local musicians such as principle violist David Aspin from Accrington.
It said it now needed to focus on remaining afloat and providing the same level of participation in the county’s arts scene as previously.
Fiona Sinclair, general manager of Lancashire Sinfonietta, said: “We’ve been working in East Lancashire for 17 years. Last year we did a full scale opera at Accrington Town Hall and if we scale back as much as 50 per cent of our spending, there will be no funds for that kind of thing.
“We will be struggling to keep ourselves afloat, and we perform to around 12,000 local people every year.
“We have become an independent charity which was really encouraged by the county council so we can bid for funding.
“However due to cuts in the Arts Council budget we will be competing with many other groups in the same boat.
“If we cannot find a way it will be a tragedy for Lancashire as we produce international quality art and encourage the next generation to do more of the same”.
Ian Watson, the county council’s head of cultural services, said: “We have long supported the Lanc-ashire Sinfonietta.
“We fund around 20 key arts organisations across Lancashire, which apply to us for annual funding through the Central Gate-way funding process.
“This process is now open, with £150,000 available for 2013/14, and we would welcome bids from all of these organisations, in-cluding the Sinfonietta.
“However the county council has had to reduce its budget by £205m over three years from 2011 to 2014, and the arts will have to make their contribution to the savings”.
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