LETTER: The benefits of Ropetackle

Adrian Towler’s suggestion (‘How to release funding’, letters, last week) that Ropetackle should pay £10,000 rent to the council which can then pay the same amount by way of grant, is patently unworkable for the simple reason that the Arts Council requires new money, and would not countenance such an obvious device.

The grant which the Arts Council agreed (and which we have been unable to accept due to Adur council’s decision not to provide the requisite support funding) was to fund a range of community projects which we were planning, a number of them jointly with partner organisations, including Wordfest, as touched upon by Rosalind Turner, whose sentiment – ‘We must not allow divisions’ – we most certainly share.

Mr Towler’s suggestion also overlooks the important distinction between project funding (which was the basis of the Arts Council grant offer), and core funding, which would include matters such as rental payment.

Referring also to your report – ‘Centre holds talks on funding possibilities’ – it is appropriate to mention, as we have pointed out to the council, that quite apart from the fact that the community outreach projects we were seeking to fund as part of our growing outreach programme, were closely attuned to the council’s own wellbeing and health objectives. Our request for council funding was strongly supported by the Economic Impact Report on Ropetackle (commissioned by the council), which calculated that Ropetackle directly contributes circa £900,000 per year to the local economy by way of audience expenditure in Shoreham (over 60 per cent of our audiences coming from outside the town).

There is also a certain irony in the fact that the council’s own recently produced strategy document, ‘Platforms for our Places’, includes an objective to use public money to leverage investment into Adur and Worthing by way of ‘bids to other funds... e.g. Arts Council...’

The council having now agreed to continue our dialogue. We are hopeful that it will recognise the value, in terms of both community and economic benefit, of providing support funding in due course if, as we anticipate, the Arts Council agrees to a fresh grant offer.

Martin Allen

Chairman,

The Ropetackle Trust,

Little High Street

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