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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010
A stand against Leicester County Council arts cuts
Theatrical masks
Caroline Hare is concerned about the impact of council cuts on arts classes

A Leicester mother of three has made a stand against County Council plans to cut funding to out-of-school arts groups across Leicestershire.

Caroline Hare started a Facebook group in reaction to news that subsidies for dance and drama classes may be lost.

Currently around 3000 children from the county attend the groups which Caroline feels are a great resource.

"Drama brings out self-confidence of children and the creativity and the imaginations; that will all be gone."

Leicestershire County Council cuts come as they attempt to tackle a budget shortfall of £66m by reducing spending over the next 4 years.

The Arts in Education service is run in conjunction with Leicester City Council, based at Knighton Fields Centre, Leicester.

Leicester City Council said it had no plans to withdraw its part of the funding the service, however a spokesperson admitted it was currently difficult to say how children living in the city will be affected.

A surprise response

Caroline said that if the budget cuts did affect her children's expressive arts classes in the city, she would be unable to pay the unsubsidised fee.

Without the variety of people in there I think it would be devastating
Caroline Hare, online campaigner

"Without the variety of people in there I think it would be devastating really, I just think it would be awful.

"And the children not being able to have the opportunity to do dance and drama it would be such a shame, because I'm sure there's lots of talent out there."

Caroline said she was surprised at the response on the Facebook group from local parents and current students of the arts groups; "I was gobsmacked at how many people signed up straight away.

"I think it's gone up to about 350 members now, so it was quite a substantial amount of people in such a short time."

Council statement

In response to this story Leicestershire County Council issues the following statement:

"The need to identify budget savings has meant that non-statutory services are the only areas remaining that can be reduced.

"For Arts in Education, this involves the £417,000 currently provided - this accounts for only 15% of arts in education's total budget.

"The rest is provided by the government through its Standards Fund for Music and is not affected by the County Council's proposal."

BBC Leicester will be getting right into the heart of council budget cuts across Leicester and Leicestershire in a live radio debate.

Be part of it on Monday 1 March 2010, listen to BBC Leicester between 10:00 and 11:00 on 104.9FM, DAB digital radio, or BBC iPlayer.


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