LETTER: We must not allow divisions

As long-time partners with Ropetackle Arts Centre, all of us involved in Shoreham Wordfest are very sorry that they have lost the significant offer of Arts Council funding due to the lack of match funding from Adur District Council.

However, we do want to correct the impression given in your article in last week’s Shoreham Herald, that we have somehow taken these funds away from Ropetackle following the decision made by the council to award a grant this year to Shoreham Wordfest. We would not want to compete for core funding with any of the many wonderful arts and cultural projects in Adur, all of whom rely mostly, or entirely, on voluntary effort, as does Wordfest.

Adur District Council has given us funding for specific projects with schools, young people and families, and with community groups in parts of the district such as Lancing and Fishersgate.

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For example, we are running inter-age creative writing and arts workshops with three primary schools in Fishersgate, Shoreham and Lancing, bringing children and older people together.

The funding also means we can run a few high-profile community events such as staging Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in a marquee on Coronation Green tomorrow and Saturday. The organisation, staffing, stage assembly and stewarding will all be done voluntarily with Ropetackle providing the ticket service.

Adur District Council funds will help to provide the marquee and the performance by Brighton Shakespeare Company, in addition to money raised through ticket sales, with prices kept as low as possible.

There will also be free activities on Saturday, with music and performances from school children, so that everyone can enjoy a good day out by the river, with food and drink stalls.

We have a terrific programme planned for our Autumn Wordfest in October, which as usual will be based on voluntary organisation and income from ticket sales.

Adur District Council funding will help support theatre and author events for children and families, keeping them affordable or free wherever possible.

This is the first time that Shoreham Wordfest, which has been running successfully for eight years, has ever received significant public funding. The grant will help us to improve and extend what we already do, working in partnership with Ropetackle, the Shoreham Centre, West Street Loft, Adur Arts Collective and so many more.

The worst thing we can do, in these days when so much relies on voluntary effort and mutual collaboration, is to allow the limited funding available to cause divisions between us.

Rosalind Turner

Programme director
Shoreham Wordfest

Riverside, Shoreham Beach

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