Change in the funding Climate.
We are all sick of hearing about the credit crunch. I have been patting myself on the back and telling myself I am well buffered from its worst effects as so much of my work is in schools. However I also do a lot of festival organising and there are a few things worth noting. Firstly we have only just begun to see the cuts that will be coming in local authority spending. I have been working with Walsall council promoting puppetry through their events programme for 20 years. All of a sudden their entire Summer Programme looks to be dead in the water. More Striking, their huge Walsall Illuminations which has been running for more than 50 years is also dead. There was a time when I was involved in performing there for forty nights every Autumn. On top of this those of use who are looking for funding from Arts Council England are finding them cranking up their expectations of required partnership funding to levels which even in good times are hard to achieve. And to make matters worse all the trust funds that we go to for this partnership money are finding their funds vanishing. In simple terms trust funds give away the interest on their capital reserves. In the current climate that interest is all but non existent. Soon we will find ourselves with an Arts Council which has been stripped of cash to cover the Olympics which is not prepared to fund high percentages of projects at the same time as partnership money is simply not available due to council cuts and trust funds vanishing. I wouldn't be the first to see this as the beginnings of a perfect storm - or as they say round here, its looking a bit black over Bill's mother's....