Norden Farm 'hopeful' that council arts grant will return in the future

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Norden Farm is still hopeful of negotiating a reduced annual grant for the future as it faces heavy cuts in the council budget.

This year’s Royal Borough budget would reduce funding for the arts from £233,000 down to £120,000.

This is projected to save the council £113,000 for 2021/22.

The Royal Borough has acknowledged that this will impact arts organisations’ scope of services they will be able to deliver.

To mitigate the effect, the borough is proposing a one-off package ‘to support transition to a future sustainable financial model’.

The one-off support package of £50,000 will mainly be directed to Norden Farm and The Old Court in Windsor, though how this will be divided is not yet decided.

The aim is to have this amount matched by other organisations, such as the Arts Council, to get as much funding as possible.

The council would provide the first quarter funding while seeking to generate match funding.

“There is a reduction [in arts support] due to the financial pressures but it’s still a significant funding,” said lead member for resident and leisure services, Councillor Samantha Rayner.

“There is no definitive split yet for the £50,000 as that’s a matter of working out with arts organisations the best opportunities to deliver art for our residents.

“The work of the arts in the borough is incredible and has huge public support and we are keen to still support and hope that through our discussions we can do this.”

Chief executive and artistic director of Norden Farm, Jane Corry, said: “We understand that the current proposal is to end funding for Norden Farm in Quarter 3 of 21-22, but this is not confirmed until after the main council budget vote at the end of the month.

“The Norden Farm charity understands that the pandemic has meant the council, like many of us, has lost valuable income and is forced to make cuts across the board.

“We remain hopeful that an ongoing, albeit reduced annual grant, beyond 21-22 can be negotiated in the future, on the other side of the pandemic, and will be meeting again with the council later this week to discuss.

“This will allow us to carry on fundraising to provide services for residents, including provision for schools and disadvantaged groups such as looked after children, children in hospice care and isolated older people at home and in residential care.

“We continue to be grateful to our ward councillors, in making the case for continued support of Norden Farm, inrecognition of the positive contribution it makes to Maidenhead life.”

Discussions with Norden Farm and others affectedby the cuts are currently ongoing.

The council will vote on budget proposals at the end of the month.

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