Jacksons Lane: Arts Council confirm Haringey u-turn was required

For the avoidance of any doubt as to Haringey Labour’s last minute conversion in terms of stumping up some funding – and how without it there wouldn’t have been Arts Council funding – here’s the Arts Council press release on the matter:

Following receipt of a commitment from the London Borough of Haringey to double its investment in Jacksons Lane, as well as seriously considering the investment required in the building, the London Regional Council of the Arts Council England has agreed to award one further year of funding to Jacksons Lane at £135,712.

This is subject to Haringey Council and Jacksons Lane agreeing to conditions regarding continued business growth, and the development of a realistic refurbishment scheme for the building.

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, London said:

‘This was a very welcome last minute offer by Haringey, without which we would not have been able to continue our commitment to Jacksons Lane.

‘We retain serious concerns about the financial viability of Jacksons Lane and the physical condition of the building, and will be working closely with Haringey over the next 10 months to ensure that these are addressed.’

In early 2010 the Arts Council will review the progress which Haringey and Jacksons Lane have made and make a decision on further funding at that point.

Jacksons Lane latest

Thank goodness – the Arts Council have been as good as their word and approved the grant to Jacksons Lane. They said it was dependent on Haringey Council showing commitment by increasing the core funding to Jacksons Lane. It was a narrow thing – as the money was only agreed by Haringey at the very last moment. But the really good news is that this time the grant is continuing for at least another two years which is brilliant news. Thank you Arts Council. And thank you to the hundreds of people who took time to write and email in support of Jacksons Lane – this made all the difference.

Your pressure has made the difference – good news for Jacksons Lane

Hurrah! Good news for Jacksons Lane Arts Centre.

It has been under threat of closure since last year when Cllr Neil Williams and I went personally to beg the Arts Council to carry on with its grant – and got a one year reprieve. The year is up – and on Wednesday the Arts Council will decide its future. Haringey Council has been the absolute sticking point – unwilling to commit any extra money at all – which is the price the Arts Council has been demanding as they want to see council commitment if they are going to put in their money too.

We (myself and the Highgate councillors) sent out an email asking people to email Matt Cooke (Labour Exec Member in charge of this) to give more money and save the centre. Cllr Cooke by the looks of it is not happy to have had pressure applied and is trying to say Haringey was always going to find some money. And pigs might have flown. People power has really made the difference. Thanks to all those who responded.

Here’s Neil’s email update on the issue:

In a letter sent from Haringey to the Arts Council on Friday – after your huge response – Haringey has now relented, and finally upped its offer of funding! This is very encouraging, and the ball is now back in the court of the Arts Council.

Claims from Haringey Council that it was always prepared to meet the Arts Council’s demands are totally untrue.

The Arts Council has long since insisted that Haringey take more responsibility for the funding of the centre – something that Haringey Council has persistently refused to do. Over the past year, Haringey has refused to up the centre’s core grant of £55,000, as the Arts Council has urged. In their own report to their decision-making body due next week, the Arts Council states:

Haringey has consistently stated that it is not in a position to offer additional capital and revenue funding to Jacksons Lane.

When we asked again for the the extra £50,000 on 22 December, the lead councillor didn’t even reply. As recently as last week, Haringey Council was refusing to help, offering only to provide half a day in officer time – nowhere near enough to help Jacksons Lane.

It really is your pressure that has made the difference – so many may thanks! We will keep you updated on progress.

20p to save cherished arts centre

Supporters and local Liberal Democrats are enlisting the help of local residents in an eleventh hour bid to save Jacksons Lane Arts Centre ahead of the Arts Council decision next Wednesday on whether to continue its subsidy.

Current indications are that the Arts Council will not continue to support the centre due to a lack of funding commitment from Haringey Council. The Centre has suggested that a £50,000 commitment towards fundraising would save the centre – the equivalent to only 20p per Haringey resident per year.

In a last-ditch attempt the Liberal Democrats have contacted several thousand local residents by email urging them to lobby Haringey Council to find the funding.

Following heavy lobbying by supporters and local Liberal DemocratMP Lynne Featherstone – who personally visited the Arts’ Council to make the case – Jacksons Lane was given a twelve month reprieve by the Arts Council, which runs on Wednesday.

Many national stars’ talent was nurtured at the venue including David Walliams, Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard.

Lynne Featherstone comments:

“I cannot accept that Haringey Council is willing to see this unique performing arts venue go to the wall. I hope this last ditch attempt will show how much Jackson’s Lane means to our community.

“However, I do have this nagging suspicion that Haringey Council really want Jacksons Lane empty so they can sell the building to plug a hole in their finances. I very much hope I am wrong.”

Cllr Rachel Alison, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Highgate adds:

“I am furious that Haringey Council appear to have washed their hands of Jackson’s Lane.What they classify as supporting the arts includes mending a roof and help while the centre was closed for the roof to be mended. This is what you would expect of a landlord and hardly the acts of a council committed the arts.

“I hope local residents will rally round this last ditch attempt to secure a future for Jacksons Lane.”

Jacksons Lane funded for another year

Hurrah! Brilliant! A reprieve for Jacksons Lane Community Centre. The Arts Council decided to fund us for one more year. Of course am over the moon, having petitioned, met with them, done my column on Jackson’s Lane and generally lobbied and agitated as much as I and my colleagues could.

Thank goodness.

We now have time to make sure that when that year is up – Haringey Council has put in place the commitment and funding necessary to reassure the Arts Council that it is really supported by the local authority. Lack of commitment by Haringey Council was the stated and only reason it was in the firing line for cuts in the first place.

So – onward and upwards! Saved – for now!

Jacksons Lane: outcome of Arts Council meeting

Lynne Featherstone MP and Cllr Neil Williams petition Arts Council over Jacksons Lane Community CentreWell – Neil Williams (Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Haringey Council) and I met with Moira Sinclair of the Arts Council this morning to plead for the Arts Council to overturn their proposal to cut funding to Jacksons Lane Community Centre. The Arts Council meet to make this decision on Thursday.

We have been swamped with responses to our petition which we handed in – thanks to everyone who responded; we will keep sending them in.

I was very impressed with Ms Sinclair. She was thorough, rigorous and efficient in her summation of why our beloved Jackson’s Lane is under threat. And it was crystal clear that she felt we are in this position because Haringey Council has not given it the necessary backing – neither financial nor emotional – over the last five years. And that has given the Arts Council concerns over the future financial management and property maintenance.

It was made quite clear that there is hope and the decision is overturnable – but at this eleventh hour I think perhaps only Haringey Council coming forward with complete commitment to the repair and renewal of the building and some matched funding would sway the members of the Arts Council when they sit on Thursday.

Haringey have – at this late point – responded to the consultation positively – but will there be any money on the table? It is their track record over the years before that I fear has led the Arts Council to put this terrible question mark over the centre’s head. Neil and I put our best foot forward, saying we would do our utmost to ensure that the corner had been turned.

Labour on Haringey Council really need to come up with the rescue package that can influence the final decision on Thursday. We certainly made it plain that this is a vital arts and performing arts facility in West Haringey and much loved and much needed by local people.

Perhaps the chink of light is that out of 75 organisations that are to have their funding completely or partially cut – there will probably be a couple who are saved from the axe. Let’s hope that Jackson’s Lane is one of them. With the enormous local community support and Neil and my pleas – we wait with baited breath and everything crossed!

Massive response to Jacksons Lane Community Centre petition

Whoosh! Over four hundred people have already signed the petition to save Jacksons Lane Community Centre. Thank you to everyone who has signed so far, whether online or through the petitions we’ve been distributing in the area. If you’ve not signed yet, please do add your name – just have to click here and fill in the online form.

Highgate councillor Neil Williams and I feature in the Journal’s coverage of the story this week, which you can read here.

Jacksons Lane Community Centre: action needed to secure its future

I’ve Lynne Featherstone MP with Cllr Bob Hare and Cllr Neil Williams at Jacksons Lane Community Centrejust demanded a meeting with Arts Council London to try to secure the future of Jacksons Lane Community Centre – one of our much-loved local resources that has provided so much to residents of Highgate, Archway and beyond.

Organisers at the centre were told in December that its £125,000 annual grant may be cut this year. And without that grant the centre, which has already endured nearly a year of closure, may have to close permanently. Not good!

The problem is that Arts Council London has questioned the commitment of Haringey Council to the centre – not surprising given the delays in funding repairs after roof damage in January 2006 and also Haringey Council’s failure to provide a long lease – which meant the centre missed out on applying for a £1 million grant.

But the annual grant is absolutely vital to the future of the centre and I will not see it disappear without a fight.