02:00PM, Thursday 16 September 2021
Future funding cuts to a Maidenhead arts centre were branded ‘shocking’ at a council forum this week.
The Disability and Inclusion Forum was held on Monday, where an update was given on Royal Borough plans to scrap funding for Norden Farm in the 2022/23 financial year.
It comes after the Altwood Road venue received a reduced grant of £64,000 in this year’s budget, down from £141,000 the year before.
However, it has been given a share of an additional pot of £50,000, along with Windsor theatre The Old Court, taking its 2021/22 total to £80,000.
Forum member Dominic Manley branded the decision to cut funding next year as ‘shocking’ at the meeting this week.
“I imagine it puts the whole thing in serious jeopardy,” he said. “It is slightly shocking, really. As I understand, it takes £700,000 a year to run the place and the council is stumping up £80,000 and then nothing.”
The council’s panel administrator Shilpa Manek confirmed that both Norden Farm and the Old Court would be attending an upcoming overview and scrutiny panel to discuss options.
Councillor Gurpreet Bhangra (Con, Boyn Hill) added at Monday’s meeting that the council is ‘continuing to support’ Norden Farm ‘where we can’.
“We are as a council looking to see what the options are on the table. That will probably come to the communities O&S panel to update members,” he said.
"We are looking at various different options, so there is a lot of things going on in the background, and I am sure that will come to fruition.
"For me, Norden Farm is very important, so we have to make sure they are there. It is important that it continues the same.”
Also discussed at Monday's meeting was plans for life after the disability charity SportsAble, which ceased operations in March. Read more on that here.
A student from Maidenhead who suspects she was spiked with a needle on a night out after waking up in hospital the next day has urged people to report similar incidents to the police.