Cuts threat to cinema and arts

A CONTROVERSIAL decision to cut £70,000 from East Cambridgeshire s arts budget could have a knock-on effect on organisations and individuals across the region. Trustees of ADeC – Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire – are planning to work closely with

A CONTROVERSIAL decision to cut £70,000 from East Cambridgeshire's arts budget could have a knock-on effect on organisations and individuals across the region.

Trustees of ADeC - Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire - are planning to work closely with the council in a bid to soften the blow.

But the decision, made as part of cost saving measures by East Cambridgeshire District Council, leaves a question mark hanging over the future of Ely's cinema, the Babylon Gallery and activities across the district.

ADeC's funding matched against the council grant is also at risk along with the cash help it gives to other organisations.


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Liberal Democrats, furious at the grant cut, were applauded by around 60 residents in the public gallery of Thursday's community services committee when they vehemently opposed the move.

They have called in the decision to the overview and scrutiny committee which has the power to send it back to community services for more discussion.

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Their leader, Cllr Gareth Wilson, said: "This has not been thought through. It is just totally stupid. It hadn't been discussed with ADeC."

Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Allen added: "ADeC has been the council's partner and it should be supportive not treating it like this. There has been no consultation and ADeC didn't see it coming."

Witcham mother, Jackie Richardson, has seen her teenage son take up a musical instrument and join a band thanks to ADeC funding.

Edward, 13, takes part in the Fenland Jam sessions, is taking electric guitar lessons and will perform with the four-piece band, Random Things at Ely's Maltings on November 2.

Jackie, of Silver Street said: "Our family is not musical and Edward has gone from playing no musical instruments at all to being the proud owner of a cheap electric guitar and being a member of a band. He is much more confident and very enthusiastic.

"Kids are always being told off for hanging around but this gives them a positive and creative thing to do. ADeC offers a good outlet for these kids."

Ely film maker, Mohammed Tahir, made it through to the top 166 entries out of 2,500 in the British Short Screenplay Competition with his film The Present and hoped to secure ADeC funding to screen it in the city.

"My idea was to have the film funded by local businesses and then shown at the local cinema. It's something new and I don't know of anywhere else it's being done," he said.

"If ADeC can't provide the support then it makes everything incredibly difficult. Without distribution, it's so difficult to raise money for the film. This country cries out for cinematic projects and when one comes along they cut the funding."

East Cambridgeshire District Council's community services committee chairman, Cllr Peter Cresswell, said of the decision to cut the ADeC grant: "We have got to make significant savings and sadly ADeC came under the microscope.

"We are not trying to abolish ADeC. If the decision is upheld we want to work more closely with ADeC in the future.

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