|Arts Council Threat To Watermans' Future|
Funding withdrawal would 'rip the heart out' of Brentford's regeneration plan
The Arts Council's threat to withdraw funding from Watermans could signal the closure of the community arts centre and would 'rip the heart out of the plan to regenerate Brentford Town Centre'.
The Arts Council are not convinced of Hounslow Council’s continued financial commitment to Watermans and have accused them of having been slow in driving the plan to relocate. They also believe that the Watermans' audiences and programme have not grown as expected and that the mangement have not met their objectives regarding attracting additional funding.
These claims are categorically denied by the staff at Watermans who state that Hounslow Council’s support for Watermans has been 'unwavering'.
A spokesperson for Watermans said "The redevelopment of Brentford Town Centre and the associated relocation is a complicated process involving many partners that takes time. There is more momentum behind this project than ever.
"And our audiences and programme have been growing hugely. Over the last 4 years Cinema audiences have grown over 50%, over the last 3 years Theatre audiences have grown over 50% and over the last 2 years the number of Exhibitions has increased over 50%."
They went onto say that "No objectives for attracting external funding were set by the Arts Council. However we have comfortably exceeded our own target of £50,000 by the end of 2007/8, with projects from Sport England, Baring Foundation, London Councils, European Union and the UK Film Council. In value these represent in excess of £90,000."
"We shall use the full force of the law to appeal. We have been advised by our lawyers that we have a clear case as there is no substance to the reasons given. Hounslow Council and our local supporters have already said that they will give us all support and we have started a petition to provide evidence of this. We aim to convince the Arts Council members who will decide on the appeal to look at Watermans case carefully and to reinstate our grant, 100%."
January 7, 2008