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Massive boost for Harlow Museum and Gibberd Gallery

Lifestyle / Fri 12th Dec 2014 at 04:40pm

HARLOW Council has agreed to continue providing funding for popular community-run services Harlow Museum and the Gibberd Gallery.

In 2012 Harlow Council took the decision to transfer the Gibberd Gallery, Parndon Wood Nature Reserve, Harlow Museum and Town Park events to external organisations and provided funding for three years*.

Last night (11 December 2014) Cabinet agreed to grant a further three years’ funding from April 2015, worth £195,000, to Science Alive to provide the Museum service (including building and gardens). Funding of £45,000 has also been allocated to Harlow Art Trust for the Gibberd Gallery and a further £21,000 could be allocated to the Trust for weekend opening of the Gallery. The money is coming from the Council’s Discretionary Services Fund**.

Parndon Wood Nature Reserve, operated by Environment Conservation Cooperative (ECCO), and Town Park events, provided by Great Parndon Community Association (GPCA), will be financially self-sufficient from April 2015 and require no further funding from the Council. However, the Council will continue to work with these organisations to oversee the delivery of services.

Councillor Emma Toal, Portfolio Holder for Youth & Community, said: “ECCO and the GPCA will continue to run Parndon Wood Nature Reserve and the event service as part of their overall business plans with no future funding from the Council. The Museum and Gibberd Gallery are operated differently by small charities that rely on external partnership funding. Therefore both ScienceAlive and Harlow Art Trust will continue to require some funding. The money we are granting will not only enable these services to continue to be provided but allows organisations to develop and improve them and plan ahead.”

Although there is money in the Council’s Discretionary Services Fund to continue directly funding Pets’ Corner, the Playhouse and the Paddling Pools for at least the next three years, the Council will continue to actively explore how these services are best delivered.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “When the public budget consultation findings were released in September I said that we would take time to consider our priorities, and that we will also be thinking about delivering or funding services in different ways, in a way that is sustainable and fair, and reflects as much as is possible the views of residents. Now we have reviewed the funding requirements of the transferred discretionary services, work will continue on looking at how Pets’ Corner, the Playhouse and the Paddling Pools are provided and funded in future.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

* Three years of funding for 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 includes:

Science Alive – Museum £364,434
ECCO – Nature Reserve £69,725
GPCA – Town Park events £12,750
Harlow Art Trust – Gibberd Gallery £44,500

Total £491,409

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