3.2 C
Wednesday, 19 January, 2022
Image by Perry Harris

On Monday 8 October a message appeared on the Arts Development Pages of B&NES Council Website.

It read as follows:

“A phased closure of the B&NES Council Arts Development service will begin from 3rd December 2018 and the service will close completely on Friday 8th February 2019.

The Council is facing exceptional challenges and pressures to its budget, with a savings target of £16 million to be met by 2020.

The Arts Development service is one of several Council services that will either be significantly reduced, or cease completely in order to make the savings necessary to meet this target.

We are proud of what the service has achieved and of the benefit to residents created by the many organisations, festivals and projects that the Council has supported since the inception of the service in 1996.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone with whom we have worked closely and successfully over the years.”

This is the absolute last opportunity to try and oppose cuts to the arts in B&NES. After this it will be gone forever and there will be no chance of ever getting it back. This is really it folks! We need all of your support.

The next Council cabinet meeting will be on Wednesday 31 October – Halloween at 4pm. What an opportune date for a rally/protest.

Join us on Wednesday 31 October from 3:30pm outside the Guildhall Bath. Please dress in costumes and bring candles with you (preferably battery operated ones – far fewer risk assessments involved).

The arts are being silenced forever in B&NES so join us and dress as ghosts of the arts and show a powerful, silent, protest against turning B&NES into a graveyard for the arts. Silence is incredibly powerful and this should create a real impact and be like nothing that has ever been seen in Bath before.

Be creative. Bring signs and banners. Make them Halloween related. Maybe even use puns or funny messages. It’s up to you whether you decide to Trick or Treat B&NES.

This really is the last chance we’ll ever get to protest about this. If you really care about the arts please try and be there to support this protest.

Join the Facebook Event:

If you’re on Twitter please use the hashtag #SaveBathArts

There are numerous ways you can get involved with this campaign.

1. Write to the B&NES Council Cabinet Members and let them know how you feel about the arts cuts.

More importantly tell them how the arts have benefited you or your organisation. Have they helped transform the community that you live in? Have they transformed the life of someone you know? What would your world be like with no Television, Radio, Music, Comedy, Art, Theatre, Stories? The most important thing is make it personal. We recommend sending actual physical letters as well as emails. It’s very easy for people to ignore and filter email communications – a load of physical letters, artworks, poems, songs arriving on their desk is much harder for them to ignore.
Your Council Cabinet are:
Tim Warren – Leader of the Council: .uk
Charles Gerrish – Finance and Efficiency: .uk
Vic Pritchard – Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing:.uk
Paul Myers – Economic and Community Regeneration: .uk
Karen Warrington – Transformation & Customer Services: .uk
Paul May – Children & Young People: .uk
Bob Goodman – Development & Neighbourhoods: .uk
Mark Shelford – Transport & Environment: .uk

Contact them via post:

Democratic Services
The Guildhall,


2. Write to your MP
Find out who your MP is at www.theyworkforyou.com

Contact details for all MPs can be found at www.parliament.uk/mps‐lords‐and‐offices/mps/

It is better to write your own personal letter/email than a standard or model letter as it shows the strength of feeling you have about the campaign. Relaying personal experiences about the campaign to your elected representative will help to illustrate the key issues. Be sure to include your full postal address so that they can write back to you.
If you intend to write your own letter you may wish to:

    • Introduce yourself and say where you live and work
    • Clearly and simply explain about the campaign, your MP may be unaware of the issues involved
    • If you can, give examples of how you are personally affected and how your workplace is affected
    • Be specific about what you would like your MP to do (i.e. table or sign an Early Day Motion, contact the government/arts bodies to raise your concerns, raise the issues with the Minister, ask questions in Parliament)
    • Ask your MP to keep in regular contact with you and to give you copies of any responses they receive from other MPs or the Secretary of State.

If you are based in central Bath your MP is Wera Hobhouse
E-mail: .uk 
POST: 26 Charles Street, Bath, BA1 1HU
Twitter: @wera_hobhouse 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeraHobhouse

Or if you fall within NE Somerset it will be Jacob Rees-Mogg
POST: North East Somerset Conservative Association, Rear of 16 High Street, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 1DQ

3. Write a letter to the Bath Chronicle

This could be a copy of the letter that you already sent to the Cabinet Members or your MP or a completely new letter. It’s entirely up to you. It is important that we get the message out in as many different forms as possible.

E-mail: .uk

4. Get involved on Social Media.

Share a message of support for the Arts Development Team. Tell everyone why the arts are important to you. We’re collating all Tweets into a Twitter moment which we’ll use to show the strength of support for the arts in Bath. Please tweet us @TheatreBath and tag us on Facebook and we will share these messages and collate them. Also use the hashtag #SaveBathArts on social media posts. And most importantly please share, retweet and like all posts relating to the campaign. The more people we can get the message out to and the more viral we can make the message the better.

Our Twitter Moment can be found here:

5. Tell everyone you know about what is happening

This may sound obvious but it is really important. The more people we tell about what is going on, the more support we’ll get, the more letters Cabinet Members, MPs and the press etc will receive and the more seriously they’ll take the campaign, more pressure they’ll be under and they will begin to realise the strength of feeling behind it.

Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbours. Send an email around to any groups you’re a member of. Invade your school’s whatsapp group and let them know what is going on.Talk about it at school, in the local shop, cafe, pub, on the bus. Make sure that as many people know as possible and challenge those who you tell to each tell at least another three people. Word of mouth is one of the best resources we have. Do not presume just because you know about it that everyone else will. Most people will be quite shocked when they find out and in turn will help spread the message much further.

6. Register to speak at the Cabinet Meeting on Weds 31 October from 4pm at the Guildhall, Bath

We need as many people as possible to register to speak at the meeting and make your views known.

Not everyone enjoys public speaking but if you feel strongly enough about these cuts we urge you to register to speak at the meeting about this. You will get three minutes (no more than that – the terrifying traffic light system will see to that) to make your case so it’s important to have clear points you wish to make.

If you wish to register to speak at the meeting email Democratic Services and give them your name and what topic you wish to speak about. They may ask you to send a copy of your speech. This can help you get a fuller response from Cabinet but we don’t advise sending this until a few days before.

Email Democratic Services: .uk

Here are a few tips:

    • Make sure all of the important information is contained within the top few paragraphs of your speech. All of those facts or opinions that you absolutely must say should be near the beginning of the speech. This will ensure you have time to get them out and not be cut off.
    • Write down a load of bullet points about what you want to say. Go through these and pull out the key points. Then look and see if you can find any evidence which backs these up or the arguments you are making. If you can back up your arguments with evidence it will make your speech much stronger.
    • Use your own voice. Write as you. Make the statement personal to you. It will have much more impact if there is a connection between you and the words you are saying
    • Don’t use big words just for the sake of it. Speaking at a Council Meeting can be an intimidating experience. Don’t give yourself unnecessary pressure to stumble over words that just don’t roll off the tongue.
    • Practice your speech and time yourself. Do not race through it. Pace yourself. Remember to breathe. If you find your speech is running over that’s okay. There are probably a few sentences or even words that you can go back and edit out which will enable you to get through it within the time allocated.
    • Take a drink of water in with you. When we get nervous our throats begin to dry. Sip the water rather than taking on large mouthfuls. The last thing you need is to take on too much water and suddenly get the urge to go to the toilet whilst in the middle of speaking – that will make you even more nervous (you may laugh but this has happened to us!).

7. Send us copies of any letters you send and any responses you get back

We are collating all messages of support, letters, responses from Council Members, Celebrities, statistics etc. If you send a letter or email be sure to send us a copy so we can add it to our information pack. We will of course strip out any of your personal contact details first (it would help us if you would do this before sending it over but if you don’t then we will ensure they are not released without your permission). All of these documents and evidence will then appear online so that anyone can access them and have all of the data to hand should they need it (or need inspiration to write a letter of their own).

Email: .uk


Visit the Equity website here: Equity Website

10 Facts About Arts Cuts – Word

Guide To Lobbying Your MP


Bath Festivals Statement

Bath Festivals are very sorry to hear of the closure of the BANES Arts Development operation. We would like to thank the Council for its significant help both financially and collaboratively. We understand the Council’s challenges, but are saddened that the arts scene in Bath will now suffer significantly.

Natural Theatre Company Statement

Old Bag Theatre Company Statement