04:44AM, Wednesday 05 December 2012
A vital £400,000 Royal Borough funding programme for Norden Farm Centre for the Arts has been hailed after a difficult financial year for the complex.
The council has confirmed the Altwood Road centre in Maidenhead will receive a £100,000-a-year grant for the next four years to help with its day-to-day running.
The deal was signed last week after Norden Farm's new board, elected in September, agreed a service level agreement (SLA) with the Royal Borough to continue providing a varied and accessible programme for residents of all ages and interests and encouraging wider public involvement in arts and entertainment provision.
The centre's funding was hit earlier this year after it lost its £143,000-a-year Arts Council England (ACE) grant as part of Government spending cuts.
The ACE did provide a one-off £82,000 grant in September, which will partly be used to install new digital projection equipment, but Paul Rutherford, chairman of Norden Farm's trustees, said a four-year programme of Royal Borough cash will help with the centre's plans for the future and allow them to look forward with greater confidence.
He said: "The importance of it is that it gives a greater degree of stability.
"When you can forecast this funding it means that you can make commitments to scheduling programmes that we couldn't commit to before.
"It enriches our programme, which means we can get more of an audience and so it becomes a virtuous circle.
"It doesn't by any means cover the costs of Norden Farm but it is very important."
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