Councils to stop funding rural touring scheme

Melton's Young Mayor Tara Dudhia EMN-140511-083025001

Melton's Young Mayor Tara Dudhia EMN-140511-083025001

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A touring arts events programme which has run for over 10 years in rural communities across the Melton borough is to stop at the end of its current season following the withdrawal of county and district council funding.

Centre Stage, which provides promoters and volunteers with arts events, is administered by Nottinghamshire County Council.

It’s supported by Arts Council England and funded by Leicestershire County Council and Melton Council.

At the end of its current season, which runs until the end of March, both Leicestershire County Council and Melton Council have decided to cut funding from their arts budgets, meaning 15 villages in the borough will no longer be able to stage productions.

Long Clawson is one of the villages which will be affected. Its village hall committee stage up to six different shows a season.

Committee member Lynne Beale said: “The announcement is a real shame and Centre Stage will be missed. It provides entertainment to residents in our village and others in the Vale.”

Alan Woodhouse, who is also on the committee, echoed her frustrations and said that, together with a film scheme in the village called Centre Screen that will stop in July, it provided high quality local entertainment.

A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council said: “Due to huge financial pressures our annual commitment to Centre Stage of £11,500 will end in March.”

A spokesman for Melton Council added: “Centre Stage visits 15 villages across the borough however, as of 2015/2016, funding will be cut. We feel we don’t get great value out of the scheme due to it being limiting in terms of new talent not getting the opportunity to be involved.”