Arts Centre officials are “disappointed” the struggling theatre was left off a long list of “important projects” selected to receive States funding yesterday, despite the venue being under threat of closure.
The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, announced yesterday which funding bids she had approved following requests made in August.
She approved 13 bids worth a total of £5.3 million in this first tranche, covering six main areas: Brexit, long-term strategy, culture and sport, agriculture, modernisation and digital and health and wellbeing.
Bids for culture and sport projects received a combined total of £400,000, including £150,000 to support the Jersey Reds through the rest of their season and £160,000 for ArtHouse Jersey to expand commercial operations in 2019. However, despite the theatre's "urgent" need for repairs and bridge funding, the Arts Centre, which is currently operating with a deficit, was left off the priority list.
The team now faces an anxious wait for more news in December, when other successful contenders may be announced.
Pictured: Deputy Susie Pinel, the Minister for Treasury and Resources.
Andrew Goodyear, Philip Hewat Jaboor and Pierre Horsfall, Chairs of the Arts Centre, ArtHouse Jersey and the Opera House, collectively raised the alarm about the island's current arts funding crisis in an open letter to election candidates back in May. An independent report commissioned by the government released earlier this week warned that the Arts Centre or the Opera House will "undoubtedly" have to close if funding gaps left by slashed arts funding aren't plugged.
Speaking to Express after the list of successful funding bids was revealed, Mr Goodyear said he was disappointed the Arts Centre was not part of the announcement, "if only because of how serious our position is."
Like the rest of the team at the Arts Centre, however, Mr Goodyear is remaining hopeful. "There is a further chance in December. We would hope that based on the conversations that we have had, the publication of the BOP Consulting report, the comments in the States, that we would be part of this second charge... We live in hope."
Pictured: The Arts Centre is hoping to receive good news in December
Earlier this month, he explained that "urgent" and "radical" action must be taken by the States or the Arts Centre would be forced to make "significant decisions" on its future. Mr Goodyear added: "We have our issue today. We know it is all part of the strategic review but we are here and now and we do need additional support to have a conversation."
The funding bids were considered through a new assessment process by the newly created Investment Appraisal Board (IAB). The Board considers all funding requests over £50,000 which fall out of the four-year budgets for departments and makes recommendations to the Treasury Minister, the Chief Executive and the States Treasurer.
Modernisation and Digital got the biggest slice of the cake with a total of nearly £3.9million.
Pictured: The dairy sector received £100,000 for drought relief funding.
£2.2million will go to the States 'strategic partner', EY, who will be tasked with designing a new systems and support the digital modernisation and change programme. Another £1.2 million will fund the update of data protection processes and systems.
£120,000 was allocated to fund a review of the UN Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, an international treaty to facilitate international road traffic and improve road safety ratified by the UK. £400,000 will help fund the External Relations team's activities, which are said to have increased in recent years, largely due to Brexit.
The dairy sector also saw its bid succeed with £100,000 granted for drought relief funding. It follows a difficult year for Jersey Dairy farmers, who saw prolonged wet weather during winter and spring and then a very hot summer. This was said to have affected the cost of animal feed and bedding, reduced animal fertility and resulted in the need to reseed pastures. Funding will subsidise these increased costs and enable farmers to start the recovery process for 2019.
Read the full list of successful bids here.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.