Poole Lighthouse Funding Reduced

Plans have been published to save almost £600,000 on the budget for community services in Poole, partly by reducing funds to Lighthouse - Poole's Centre for the Arts and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

A report on the proposed 2011/12 budget for Borough of Poole's portfolio of community services was presented to members of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 4 January 2011.

The report sets out a proposed net saving of £595,000 on the existing £7.6 million budget for services including libraries, arts, adult learning, housing and community safety in 2011/12.

There are no proposed changes to the number of libraries, the mobile library service, or spending on library stock. Opening hours for all library branches and Poole Museum will be unaffected.

The proposed budget also includes investment of £88,000 in services to protect and assist victims of anti-social behaviour and domestic violence, plus a further £16,100 towards funding a new service to support victims of rape and sexual assault.

Borough of Poole is facing a 14 per cent cut in Government formula grant funding and specific grants for services in 2011/12. However, grants from the council to the community and voluntary sector will be reduced by only 7.3 per cent.

It is proposed that the council continues with its current level of funding for:

* Poole Citizens Advice Bureau, in recognition of the important advice and advocacy work it provides to local residents; and
* Poole Council for Voluntary Service, in order for it to continue its valued support to the voluntary sector in the borough.

Organisations receiving less funding from the council will be able to access advice and support from Poole Council for Voluntary Services and the council.

As part of the budget proposals, council funding for the arts will be reduced, including grants to Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The Archives Service, jointly operated with Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council, will also receive reduced funding.

Cllr Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said:

"We are facing immense pressures on council budgets with cuts of more than 14 per cent in Government grant funding for next year. We are aiming to focus our support towards the most vulnerable members of our community while still managing to retain funding for other areas such as the arts, which some councils have been forced to cut altogether.

"In particular, we appreciate the vital community role performed by our libraries. Despite the cuts in Government funding, we will retain all ten libraries without any reduction in opening hours for the public, as well as the mobile library which provides such a vital service."

Wherever possible, the council is making savings in the costs of management and administration and is seeking to minimise staff redundancies.

The merger of adult learning services in Poole and Bournemouth has already delivered significant savings and is expected to eliminate further costs in the coming year.

The report to the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee can be viewed at boroughofpoole.com/agendas.

The overall budget proposals for council services in 2011/12 will be reported to Cabinet and Full Council in February 2011.

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