Blackheath Halls Cuts
Did you know that half of Blackheath Halls falls into Lewisham and half Greenwich? No – nor did I. And there wasn’t really any reason to until yesterday when the guys there told me Greenwich were planning to cut their entire annual grant – £72,000 – from April 2011, giving the Halls no time to organize any kind of alternative funding and leaving them up the proverbial creek without a proverbial paddle.
I mentioned that I was surprised they actually got a grant given they were in Lewisham and they told me that though the front is, indeed in Lewisham, the back is in Greenwich, and they’ve historically enjoyed grants from both councils and tried to spread their outreach accordingly.
Now, while I am hardly surprised that Greenwich has done this (this kind of dropping-someone-in-the-shit puts me in mind of another shared Lewisham/Greenwich venture, the fireworks last November, where Greenwich pulled out at a very late moment without a word or a thought as to how Lewisham were going to cope) it doesn’t instill in me much confidence as to how they’re going to deal with the rest of the savings they’re going to make.
While other councils are coming clean – and getting stick for it in both national and local news, but at least being honest – Greenwich council are playing their cards so close to their collective chest that people end up having bad news sprung on them at the last minute rather than having the opportunity to fight – or at least try to secure some alternative means of income.
Where will the axe fall next? We know it will fall, we just don’t know where. And I think it’s about time we did know. Lewisham must be getting pretty fed up with the way Greenwich keeps cutting them loose all over the shop after years of co-operation (I can’t believe I’m sticking up for Lewisham here, but I’m afraid I’m ashamed of the way my council is behaving just now). They have their own cuts to make.
When are we going to know what Greenwich council actually proposes to do with the massive cuts they have to make? We’re getting this in dribs and drabs. I’d like an actual outline please.
In the meantime, if you want to sign the petition against Blackheath Halls cuts visit
http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42829.html and this Sunday 20th February at 2pm supporters of Blackheath Halls are organizing a sing and play in at the front of Blackheath Halls (weather permitting).