Reinstate funding for the Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring Scheme

Petition overview: The petition is to reverse the County Council’s decision to stop funding the Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring Scheme events across Lincolnshire and reinstate annual funding at the current level. Further details: Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) has taken the decision to cut its annual funding next year to Lincolnshire’s community touring scheme after more than 30 years of support. The County Council invested £19,700 for 2016/17. This is approximately 0.004% of LCC’s annual budget. The community touring scheme supports 50 voluntary groups across rural areas of Lincolnshire who bring thousands of local people together in community spaces to enjoy high quality, affordable and professional entertainment that they would not otherwise have access to: “[The scheme] has allowed me to see, listen to and experience world class artists in my local hall…” – Audience comment “It’s a great chance to meet up with people. Absolutely a life blood for our hall re: finances. If we lose these events then it is going to be harder to keep the hall open & then all our community groups will suffer. There is nowhere else for them to meet!” – Local organiser comment Lincolnshire County Council has supported the community touring scheme since its inception in the early 1980s, recognising that the scheme also supports a lot more than top-class professional entertainment: 1. Community cohesion - Each event is a focus of social interaction across all ages and backgrounds; helping to reduce isolation and bringing local people together; 2. Volunteering and the rural economy – the scheme motivates people to volunteer and get involved, and supports the work of village hall committees and other associations; 3. Value for money - for every £1 invested by LCC, the scheme brings an additional £8.98 into the county from other sources each year, including other funders, event revenue and £45,000 of volunteers’ time. (2015/16) 4. Greener County - It reduces the carbon footprint of audiences travelling to see shows by supporting leisure activities actually in rural communities. 5. Healthier County - It is a focus of social interaction for weeks before and after the show; helping reduce isolation and loneliness; getting people out to see and make friends and to remain independent for longer both as volunteers and audiences. We believe that the social, cultural and economic value created by the Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring scheme for the county justifies the County Council’s £19,700 annual investment. This is approximately 0.004% of LCC’s annual budget. Contact details: John Laidlaw Executive Director, Live & Local (who manage the scheme) Pageant House, 2 Jury Street, Warwick, CV34 4EW John@liveandlocal.org.uk 01926 402173
62 signatures

Comments

I have attended many shows arranged by this scheme over the past years, and even now, years later, we are still talking about some of the amazing performances we have been privileged to see, which, without this scheme, we would never have been able to do, unless we had travelled to a major city and theatre. I am very sad that our, and many others, social and cultural life will be greatly affected by a decision not to go ahead with further funding.

The County Council’s decision to stop funding the Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring Scheme events across Lincolnshire is very disappointing. We understand the money involved is a very small percentage of the overall CC budget. It seems a shortsighted decision to cut this in view of the benefits it gives in supporting some 50 voluntary groups across rural areas of Lincolnshire. These groups bring thousands of local people together in community spaces to enjoy high quality, affordable and professional entertainment that they would not be able to enjoy without CC support. Please think again.

Valorie and Colin Disney. Tealby

The petition overview says it all; we have been enjoying the rural touring scheme events for many years at venues all over the county, and they have been, without exception first class. The loss of this programme would be another heavy blow to the life our rural communities, and for what - 0.004% of the CC annual budget; a miniscule amount compared to the benefits, some quantifiable, some not, which the programme delivers.

Our culture depends on the arts. These can only thrive with some support and subsidy from public funds. The rural population deserves the opportunity to access and benefit from performances that would otherwise only be available in the cities.

Lincolnshire was a cultural desert until this programme came along. It brings arts from the world direct to our communities. We reduce or lose it at our peril.

The commitment of 50 voluntary groups to this scheme demonstrates its extent and its impact across the whole county. The scheme makes a vital contribution to the community life of our rural areas and provides a massive return on what is in relative terms a very small investment. In backing the scheme, the Council has shown its determination to support its rural communities.

As Chairman of Tealby Village Hall, I wish to make it clear that the threat to abolish the Rural Touring scheme would virtually mark the end of live theatre in the Village. Tealby has supported this scheme for many years and it has brought top class entertainment to the village. Tealby has many elderly residents who value this scheme, and would otherwise find live entertainment difficult to access. Linconshire is not over blessed with arts provision. To discontinue this would further weaken the cultural life of the county, for what is a relatively small amount of money. With the threat to pull out of the Collection, Usher Gallery, Museum of Lincolnshire Life etc, ratepayers may be left wondering if we have a council who know the price of everything and the value of nothing !

This scheme is vital to the wellbeing of our community which has no public transport in the evenings as it affords many residents the opportunity to enjoy a high standard of entertainment that would otherwise be denied to them.

The Lincolnshire Rural & Community Touring Scheme actively
supports Lincolnshire communities and should therefore be actively supported by Lincolnshire County Council. The financial contribution is a rounding up figure on LCC's annual budget.
Please appreciate the excellent value that the current contribution represents and continue to provide financial support.