Wolverhampton council to end funding for arts groups

Wolverhampton Central Youth Theatre has operated for more than 30 years

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Wolverhampton council is to cut funding it gives to arts and voluntary groups in the city, to save £1.6m.

It is planning to stop subsidies to 13 organisations in April, while 17 groups will continue to receive money for the next financial year only.

Among those affected are the Wildside Activity Centre, Community Transport and the Central Youth Theatre, which has said it may be forced to close.

The council approved plans to cut £123m from its budget by 2016, last week.

The Central Youth Theatre, which started in 1983, is to lose 100% of its funding, which amounts to about £13,520.

The cash accounts for 20% of its annual income with the rest coming from lottery grants, sponsorship and fundraising, it said.

'Track record'

Director Jane Ward MBE said the group was also faced with moving from its base at the former Antique Market Hall because of the £25m city centre redevelopment.

She said: "We've always expected a cut but losing the whole lot puts us in a precarious position and we may be forced to close down."

Councillor Elias Mattu admitted the implications on the voluntary sector would be catastrophic but the council had no choice.

"We have to make difficult and unpalatable decisions like this due to a situation that has been forced upon us," he said.

"I want to make it very clear that a loss of funding is in no way a reflection on the quality of work that these voluntary groups do."

Wolverhampton City Council's cabinet will make a decision on the funding cuts on Wednesday.

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