Ipswich/Colchester: Museum funding hope to plug black hole
COLCHESTER and Ipswich borough councils are set to inject £134,000 into their joint museum service to meet a funding black hole.
The Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service runs three sites in each town and its joint committee will meet next week to discuss finances.
Councillors will receive a report recommending that the two authorities each make one-off payments of £67,000 to counter a lack of external grant funding and a “difficult” preceding financial year.
Beverley Jones, head of environmental and protective services at Colchester Borough Council, said the service had lost a crucial £734,000 in grant income for the next financial year.
“The service has also been feeling the effects of the continued tightening of the economic downturn, with visitors seemingly having less disposable income or perhaps just becoming more reserved in their spending, which has affected our retail income achieved over the year,” she said.
“In what feels like a perfect storm of economic conditions, the museum service has also suffered what is now popularly termed the ‘Olympic effect’. Rather than be the boost to tourism that was expected during the period of the Olympics, the national data is demonstrating that cultural venues such saw a significant downturn in visitor numbers.”
She added: “The service has worked extremely hard to contain all of these financial pressures for both 2012/13 and 2013/14 to within the target that has been set and the transition funding that was awarded from the Arts Council.
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“Unfortunately, the combination of so many factors meant that it was possible for all but £134,000 to be dealt with from existing resources – hence the one-off cost pressure financial contribution that is in addition to the regular contribution from both Colchester and Ipswich borough councils.”