Cultural desert in Peterborough threat left open following council cut

One of the Vivacity services which the trust runs Photo: (c) John Moore
One of the Vivacity services which the trust runs Photo: (c) John Moore
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The threat of a cultural desert in Peterborough is not being confirmed by the trust which made the prediction, despite budget cuts being passed.

Vivacity, which runs cultural, leisure, sports and library services in Peterborough, claimed the heart of the city was at risk due to its funding being reduced by Peterborough City Council.

The real impact of the cuts will be far greater than the amount cited.

Kevin Tighe

The council, having to cope with a £25 million deficit, announced in January that it was planning to cut over £700,000 a year from Vivacity’s budget.

That prompted Vivacity to warn that the annual Arts Festival would be threatened without alternative funding, prices at the Lido and swimming pools would increase and events and exhibitions at the city’s museum could end.However, despite the council having agreed the funding cut, Vivacity would not confirm whether these fears will now be realised. Instead, chief executive Kevin Tighe said: “For every £1 of funding from the council we have generated a further £3 income ourselves.

“The doors of our facilities will not close tomorrow but many of the staff who so successfully craft bids for grants are to leave us soon as part of our need to make savings.

“This skill and expertise, as well as the relationships built with funders, will take a long time to rebuild and momentum will be lost. The real impact of the cuts will be far greater than the amount cited because our capacity to bring in additional funding will be reduced.”

Vivacity announced last month the Heritage Festival would run for three more years after being sponsored by city firm Perkins Engines Company Limited.

Vivacity chair Shelagh Smith, said: “It feels like a backward step not to build on the improvements made.”