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Minister requests singing charity's accounts

Minister requests singing charity's accounts

Friday 14 June 2019

Minister requests singing charity's accounts


The Education Minister has declined to hand any money over to a children's singing charity until she gets the opportunity to probe their finances.

Senator Tracey Vallois has agreed to bridge any funding gaps up to £6,000 to ensure that 'Jersey Sings! 2019' can go ahead - but only if the charity behind it, Music In Action, provide a full set of accounts.

The announcement came this afternoon following crisis talks on Wednesday between the Minister and James Mews, who leads the charity.

Mr Mews announced earlier this week that Jersey Sings - a yearly educational project involving hundreds of young singers – had been dealt a potentially fatal blow by the government just 10 days ahead of its concert.

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Pictured: Children performing in last year's Jersey Sings concert.

Mr Mews claimed that on Monday they had stated they planned to cut its annual funding of the project - a sum of around £10,000, which he said covered about 15% of the event's running costs. The news led individuals and corporate entities to step in to the tune of £6,000, with a crowdfund set up by Music In Action gaining £560 at the time of writing.

But Senator Vallois then disputed Mr Mews' account, stating that Music In Action had, in fact, been warned of a funding cut many months before.

The pair met for a crunch meeting yesterday in order to identify the support the government could on a logistical and practical level to ensure next week's concert could still go ahead.

Following that discussion, Senator Vallois has since stated that her department will support the project if there is any shortfall ahead of the concert, but only if she receives the organisation's full accounts.

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 Pictured: The Minister has requested the charity's accounts.

A statement released this afternoon read: "Senator Tracey Vallois has agreed to underwrite any shortfall, up to an agreed level of £6,000. This is subject to receiving full accounts that meet the requirements of Financial Direction 5.5 on the management of grants. Senator Vallois is keen to underwrite the funding gap if necessary, but as a former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, wants to ensure the highest level of financial probity when spending public money.

"The Minister is pleased to see that both individuals and corporations have stepped in with donations, narrowing the budget shortfall to less than £6,000. The department hopes this figure will have dropped further by the time of the event, and that Jersey Sings! is a wonderful experience for island children, as in past years."

It added that the Minister agreed to meet with Music In Action after the concert has taken place.

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