Cuts to town’s music service hit the wrong note

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A TEENAGE tuba player has criticised ‘devastating’ cuts being made to Doncaster Music Service in its 80th anniversary year.

Andrew Mee, aged 17, says he owes many of his friendships and much of his musical skill to the dedication of staff and resources at the William Appleby Music Centre.

But Doncaster Council says it needs to make cutbacks to the service which offers free and subsidised music tuition to youngsters – after a 56 per cent cut in grant funding.

Five members of staff have taken redundancy as the authority looks to slash costs from £735,156 this academic year to £356,000 by 2014/2015.

Danum Academy student Andrew said: “I think it’s disgusting. The centre has had such a massive influence on children across the borough for the past 80 years.

“I think the future of the service is certainly in doubt. When the news about the cuts was announced, there were a lot of tears.”

Andrew, of Hardy Road, Wheatley, has been involved with the Music Service for nine years.

He said the reduction would mean one of the ensembles he plays in would have to fold.

Chris Pratt, the council’s director of children and young peoples’ services, said: “We have reviewed and restructured the Music Service following a 56 per cent cut in grant funding for this area over the next three years.

“It is clear we are having to work with a lot less money. However, through our proposals of some changes to terms and conditions and job descriptions – particularly around high graded leadership posts – we are committed to saving jobs and there have been no compulsory redundancies.

“We are concentrating all our efforts on making sure orchestras and ensembles can continue, as well as delivering high standards of teaching and learning in schools.”