I am one of many locally who are dismayed by the council’s rejection of an application for support for the Ropetackle Arts Centre and, in particular, by the dismissive tone of councillor Parkin’s comment.
I would argue that the centre has got its act together remarkably well since it was established.
As a Shoreham resident and music lover (not a member of the Ropetackle team), I was recently involved in arranging a concert there which featured internationally-renowned musicians.
The inclusion of Shoreham in their UK tour schedule will have helped to raise awareness of the town as a significant cultural location, as will many other events that draw high-profile performers – and their audiences – to the venue.
On the commercial front, besides generating income for the centre, the capacity audience will have contributed financially to local hospitality businesses, as did the artists who stayed in local accommodation and used local restaurants.
The centre has become an asset both to the reputation of Shoreham and to its economy.
Moreover, your report indicates that the denial of what is really a modest support grant from the council jeopardises Ropetackle’s opportunity to bring in a far greater amount from other sources, and to gain formal recognition of its importance on the cultural map. The value of the centre is not limited to its public-relations standing nor to the financial benefits of its presence here.
As an enterprise that draws so much on the goodwill, voluntary effort and donations of local people, it is widely regarded with the sort of affection and enthusiasm that does a great deal for the community spirit of the town. It is regrettable if we cannot credit Mr Parkin with acknowledging that fact.
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