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Petition Tag - powys
Parking charges in Powys are excessive and unnecessary for a county made up predominantly of small market towns. Such charges encourage visitors to park on the streets and roads adding to congestion; discourage tourism and shoppers from returning, and raise minimal funds after traffic wardens and ticket machines are taken into account. Many car parks are often more than half empty.
Removing parking fees from most, if not all, of the car parks in the county would encourage tourists and shoppers to visit our small towns and significantly reduce the number of cars parked on streets and roads.
The service this petition represents provides more than the regular bus routes are able to. Not only does it assist the low-income and pensioners, it allows visitors to explore the locality.
The present driver, of two years, of eight years in total as a Post Bus driver, twenty years in the local post office (who does not expect to lose his employment as a result of the service being cut) provides a courteous and useful role on behalf of Royal Mail and the locality.
Celf o Gwmpas is an arts organisation that covers the whole of Powys. We provide high quality arts experiences primarily for adults with learning disabilities.
Working with over 200 people a year we run regular sessions and high profile projects. The Arts Council of Wales has decided to cut our revenue funding.
We believe that that the Arts Council of Wales has not fully appreciated the detail of the work that Celf o Gwmpas uniquely provides in Powys. Our focus on artistic excellence and maximum participation helps to overcome the social exclusion experienced by people with learning disabilities.
Our ten years of experience means we have an extensive network and long standing relationships with participants and their support services. Our awareness of the infrastructure that surrounds people with learning disabilities, including the Care Planning system and the frequent lack of advocacy, means that our art provision, with its potential to give a voice to often unheard people is especially valuable. Uniquely, we take the arts events out to each area of Powys.
We work, often one-to-one, with participants to enable people to get to and take part in the arts workshops. We feel it is this combination of artistic excellence and vision, high profile projects and learning disability awareness that makes Celf o Gwmpas so special, and which could not easily be replicated by another provider.
The award-winning Wyeside Arts Centre, home to Wales’ longest-running cinema, faces enforced closure. Appeals to Powys County Council and the Arts Council of Wales have been declined.
This petition is being organised by the staff, trustees and volunteers of Wyeside Arts Centre.
There is ample evidence to show that Wyeside Arts Centre is an extremely efficient and effective arts venue, offering its funders and customers excellent financial and cultural value.
We have been explaining a crucial need for a relatively modest increase in revenue support for nearly ten years, to no avail. Instead we have been obliged to do everything possible to keep Wyeside open, involving considerable compromises at a cost to staff, patrons and our artistic aspirations. We have now reached the point where we can simply no longer continue without the improved revenue support we have been requesting.
The Arts Council of Wales sent its Senior Grants Monitoring Officer to review our finances last year. His report said: “margins have been squeezed to their potential maximum and this includes backroom staff at a bare minimum... the procedures followed are of best practice”. He also confirmed our need for extra revenue support.
This report had to be ‘leaked’ to our Assembly Member in order for us to see it. The Arts Council will not explain why they will not discuss the findings of their own report, even though it confirms that we have been achieving what they were specifically requesting of us as a condition of improved support.
Wyeside promotes and manages over 800 arts and cultural events a year. We operate 7 days – av. 85 hours - a week, open to the public 6 days a week; with an average 40,000 visits per year. Yet we can only afford three full time members of staff; the rest of us are part time, casual or volunteer. Nevertheless last year Wyeside became only the third arts centre in Wales to be awarded Investors in People status, with commendations for our achievements. Their assessor also confirmed our need for improved support.
Wyeside Arts Centre has been denied the significant levels of public subsidy awarded to comparable venues in Powys and Wales. There is an increasingly stark disparity in levels of public investment. We have asked for an explanation but none has been offered. We have asked our public funders to make a ‘best value’ audit and compare Wyeside with other arts venues, but they have been reluctant to do so; even though the National Assembly has also previously asked for comparisons to be made in the interests of best value.
Over the past five years Wyeside Arts Centre has managed to promote an average 60 live performances a year for an average £4,200 a year in subsidy; offering extraordinary value and demonstrating effective management. The Arts Council of Wales has an extra £1.5 million a year to support live show programmes in venues outside of Cardiff. Some theatres have been granted over £100,000 a year extra to support their programmes. Wyeside has been denied any support whatsoever from this fund. In Wales there are no clear rationales for the public agencies’ methods of investing the public’s money in Arts venues.
Wyeside is a victim of very poor administration of public money for the arts. At a time when public money for the arts is under such pressure it should not be unfair to expect our public agencies to invest our money prudently. They should be accountable for ensuring best value, rewarding best practice and meeting their priorities efficiently and effectively.
Direct appeals from the Chairmen of Wyeside to the Chairmen and Chief Executives of Powys County Council and the Arts Council of Wales to discuss our plight have been refused. Please help us to urge the Minister for Heritage to intervene and help us save the Wyeside Arts Centre, which has been providing a significant arts service for thirty years and a home to Wales’ longest-running cinema. There is no good reason why this excellent, much-valued arts centre should be forced to close.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Artistic & Executive Director
Wyeside Arts Centre