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Belgrade and Warwick Arts Centre threatened with Coventry City Council cuts

The Belgrade Theatre is at risk of losing 30% of its grant The Belgrade Theatre is at risk of losing 30% of its grant
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Theatres and arts organisations in Coventry are bracing themselves for cuts of thousands of pounds to their funding, under local council plans to make savings of £1.2 million.

The move would affect organisations such as the Belgrade Theatre and the Warwick Arts Centre. The latter is at risk of losing its entire grant from the council and has warned that this would impact on its education programme and its ability to attract donors.

Coventry City Council is consulting on a raft of proposals to save £1.2 million from the total amount it awards in grants.

The council is considering three options, with one being that there are no cuts made at all. The second would see all the organisations that currently receive grants hit with a 12.5% cut, with a third option reducing grants in variable amounts, from 0% to 100%.

The Belgrade Theatre is at risk of losing 30% (£250,886) of its £814,478 grant under option three, with Warwick Arts Centre facing a potential 100% cut, equating to £25,000.

Belgrade Theatre artistic director Hamish Glen said: “At present, we are still absorbing what these cuts might mean to our continued operation as a venue. The figures released by the council are, as yet, indefinite and subject to a consultation period… so it is too early to comment with any certainty as yet on their long-term impact.”

Alan Rivett, director at Warwick Arts Centre, said that along with other Coventry arts organisations it was “working closely with Coventry City Council to minimise these proposed cuts”.

“Inevitably reductions in funding will mean reductions in creative activity. In this case any cuts will have a direct impact on our creative work in schools which we know is highly valued by teachers, artists and young people,” he said.

He added: “Cuts may also have a significant impact on our ability to attract donors and our valuable relationships with a range of trusts and foundations who currently support this creative strand of our work,” he warned.

Other bodies facing cuts include the Open Theatre Company, which works with people who have learning disabilities and could be hit with a cut of more than £3,000 to its current £12,860 funding.

The Albany Theatre Trust, which runs the Albany Theatre, could be hit with a cut of £11,900 under the third option being considered. It currently receives £38,775.

Coventry City Council cabinet member for resources, Damian Gannon, said the local authority had “no choice about reducing services and making tough decisions” with less money to spend than in 2010. He said the council had £250 less to spend per head in the city compared with 2010.

The council said it had received a £24 million cut from the government in 2015/16.

Its consultation on the cuts runs until December 6.

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