Theatre in Wales

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WYESIDE CAMPAIGN GOES TO WAG More than 8000 supporters of Wyeside Arts Centre’s campaign to ensure that this thriving, essential Mid Wales venue stays open have signed the petition that is being delivered this week to the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff.

The WAG Petitions Committee will then look into the circumstances that have led to the crisis situation that the Wyeside Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers have been robustly managing since early January.

New Chairman of Trustees, Julian Gibson-Watt, said, “It has been very heartening indeed to get such extraordinary support from across Mid Wales and beyond. We really must thank everyone who has signed our petition and say how much we appreciate the quality of the comments people have taken the trouble to write on our behalf. They are a great tribute to everyone who makes the Wyeside such a special place. We are doing our very best to convey their feelings to the Heritage Minister and to the Arts Council of Wales.”

Mr Gibson-Watt went onto say, “I can assure the public that there has been a lot of activity behind the scenes at Wyeside over the past few months. We have co-opted five new Board members, re-energised the Friends of Wyeside and formed the Wyeside Action Committee, which are both already fundraising on our behalf.

“We have also met with representatives of the Arts Council of Wales. They put an offer of standstill funding for us on the table as long as we could produce an interim business plan that would satisfy their conditions. We have now presented our new plan and await their response. We are concerned, though, that the only way we have been able to achieve the required financial targets has been by reductions in levels of service, activity and staff salaries. We are hopeful that they will accept our new plan due in no small part to the level of fundraising being undertaken and the generosity of the public and some key funders who are helping us to meet our shortfall. My thanks must also go to our Chief Executive, Guy Roderick, and his team who have been making exceptional efforts to ensure the public get the arts centre they deserve and so clearly demand. Although they have been under very significant pressure their professionalism has been exemplary. There is still a long way to go but we are all determined that Wyeside will continue to serve this community for a long time to come.

“We have also been visited by Mark Kerr, CEO of Powys County Council, and a number of Powys County Councillors. Mr Kerr was very impressed with the management of the centre on his visit and he has now written to the Arts Council confirming that Powys County Council’s support for Wyeside will continue. We look forward to engaging in equally positive discussions with the new Councillors once their portfolios have been allocated. Our appreciation must also go to Builth Wells Town Council for their continued support – the importance of which is recognised by both us and by our major funders. It is great news for the town that Builth Wells is being recognised as such a centre of excellence for the arts and our campaign has already been featured on television by BBC’s ‘Week In Week Out’ as well as BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ and BBC Radio Cymru.
“Also on a recent civic exchange visit the Mayor of Blaubarren in Germany said of Wyeside, ‘This is a wonderful facility and resource. I wish we could have an arts centre like this in our town.’”

Mr Gibson-Watt ended saying, “We believe that the massive public outcry in our favour will not fail to be heard in the right places and that our work behind the scenes will help us to create short term stability for Wyeside that will pave the way for longer term security for the organisation.”
Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells  
web site

Thursday, June 5, 2008back



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