Museums Sheffield has vowed to appeal after discovering today it has been unsuccessful in its funding application to the Arts Council England’s Renaissance Major Grants programme
. Museums Sheffield had applied for £1.4m per year for the next three years – cash which would have replaced and built on an outgoing national funding stream the Trust has received since 2004. Museums Sheffield, which has suffered significant reductions in funding from other sources in the past three years, must now manage a crushing 30% reduction in its overall budget from 1 April 2012.
Nick Dodd, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield, says:
“This is bitterly disappointing news. Funding from the outgoing Renaissance in the Regions scheme has transformed the quality of museum and gallery provision in Sheffield over the past 8 years. We know we put together a compelling case for continued funding under the new Arts Council grants programme, which met all the published criteria. This decision will have a devastating impact and leaves Sheffield, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands grossly under-funded by the Arts Council in comparison with other parts of the country. We fully intend to appeal and will be questioning the Arts Council’s strategic and geographical distribution of this public money”
Museums Sheffield is still in negotiation with its principal funder, Sheffield City Council, over its funding settlement for 2012/13. The City Council had firmly backed Museums Sheffield’s bid to the Arts Council, which would have seen an additional £3.55 coming into the city for every £5 of City Council funding.
Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, says:
”This is a huge disappointment for the city and Museums Sheffield. We know Sheffield had a very strong bid and should have been recognised for its cultural offer. I want to know why we were not successful and how we compared to others. We want to stand up for Sheffield, support the appeal and will await the decision with interest.”
The reduction in funding will have a huge impact on museum and gallery provision in Sheffield. Museums Sheffield is responsible for the Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery, and Weston Park museum. Though Sheffield City Council have pledged that the annual funding they provide for Museums Sheffield will mean no museums or galleries in the city will close, the quality of service offered to visitors in those buildings will decline significantly. Large scale staff redundancies, major reductions in exhibition programmes, and scaled down learning provision for schools/adults are all now inevitable.
Museums Sheffield is now in negotiation with Arts Council England over short term funding to ease the transition towards its reduction in scale and activity.
Jan 24 2012