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The Public bosses to seek more Arts Council cash

Sandwell | News | Published:

Bosses at controversial £72 million West Bromwich arts centre The Public plan to apply for more Arts Council handouts after new funding arrangements were announced.

Bosses at controversial £72 million West Bromwich arts centre The Public plan to apply for more Arts Council handouts after new funding arrangements were announced.

Last month it was revealed Sandwell Council is producing a report that includes options to mothball or close parts of the West Bromwich centre when it loses £1 million a year in funding next April.

However, bosses now hope the government-funded Arts Council, which has already provided more than £32 million of funding, will bail it out once again.

Arts Council England last month announced cuts to "regularly funded" arts organisations across the West Midlands, after it was revealed it would need to save £457 million over the next four years.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Shakespeare Company, all of whom pick up annual funding from the Arts Council, had budgets slashed.

But other arts projects have now been told they can apply for money, with decisions on grants made on a case by case basis.

Arts Council England said it was introducing the new applications system, which went "live" yesterday, to make recipients "more accountable" and open it up to new organisations.

However, after giving a final £3 million grant in 2008 towards the running cost it refused to give the project any more money.

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Despite this bosses at the centre, which the council claims costs £1.1 million a year to run, are confident they will be able to attract more funding.

They say that over half term more than 4,000 visitors attended events at the centre.

Linda Saunders, managing director of The Public, said: "We welcome the new funding arrangements from Arts Council England and the opportunity for new organisations to apply."

Sandwell Council has stated it will not offer any extra cash to The Public, although it has up to £1.5 million annually set aside towards running costs.

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