IW music hub must change to survive

By Emily Pearce

Friday, March 7, 2014

 

THE Isle of Wight Music Education Hub needs to be radically overhauled if it hopes to secure future funding, it has been warned.

Following a visit from Arts Council England (ACE) officers in December, it was made clear the hub — which provides tuition for young musicians on the Island — must become financially sustainable.

It is currently running at a loss of £150,000, which the IW Council said it could no longer afford to underwrite.

ACE, which funds the hub, has cut its funding from £400,000 two years ago to just £135,000 for the 2014/15 financial year, and the hub has had to reduce its costs as a result. The funding will run out next year, so the need for a new business plan is pressing.

The hub, created two years ago following drastic funding cuts to the IW Music Service, provides tuition to more than 2,600 schoolchildren every week. Around 400 children play in bands and ensembles.

According to a report due to be considered by the council cabinet on Tuesday (11): "The hub needs to be restructured to provide services which can be affordable for its customers to buy and its partners to offer. This is something ACE wants to see, to allow the hub to bid for a further three years' funding."

The report recommends launching a consultation this month with hub stakeholder, including music service staff and students, schools and community music groups. They will be asked their views on who should run the hub, how its overheads can be reduced and who should be offered tuition.

If the recommendation is approved, a decision on the future of the hub will be made in May.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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