- Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Minister for Heritage, National Assembly for Wales
The Trustees and Staff (paid and voluntary) of Wyeside Arts Centre wish to extend their deepest gratitude to every signatory of our On Line Petition to the Welsh Assembly Government’s Minister for Heritage, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM. The volume of support from over 8,000 supporters has already had a significant impact on decisions concerning Wyeside’s future in the short term. We anticipate that your support will provide Wyeside Arts Centre the vigorous backing it needs to negotiate for a successful long term future.
We would also like to record that the thousands of written comments of support we have received have had a very positive effect on the morale of all staff and Trustees of Wyeside in these difficult times; as well as serving to illustrate to those who are unfamiliar with Wyeside Arts Centre just how much it is valued by such a diverse and widespread community of arts patrons.
Thanks to all of you and to the staff behind Go Petition who have made such a significant contribution to this very special Arts Centre.
Should anyone wish to remain informed of Wyeside’s attempts to avoid enforced closure and/or contribute further to our campaign please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
We the undersigned who have subscribed our names to this petition hereby request Wales’ Minister for Heritage, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, does everything in his power to ensure the survival of this much-praised, highly valued, rural arts centre.
The Save Wyeside Arts Centre petition to Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Minister for Heritage, National Assembly for Wales was written by Wyeside Arts Centre and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition.