Council funding helps museums

At Home With...Joanne Harris
At Home With...Joanne Harris
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COUNCIL funding for troubled Museums Sheffield is to be protected for the next year to help the trust cope after losing out on a major funding bid.

Sheffield Council’s Labour administration have decided the current £2.044 million it provides each year to cover running costs of Graves and Millennium Galleries, and Weston Park Museum, will remain the same for the 2012/13 financial year.

The news comes as a leading author became the latest big name to criticise the Arts Council for refusing its bid for £4.2 million over the next three years.

Barnsley-born Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat, which was later made into an Oscar-nominated film, has given her support to Museums Sheffield on website Twitter. She described current Millennium Galleries exhibition, The Family in British Art, as ‘terrific’.

Current Arts Council funding runs out in March, leaving no spare cash to cover the cost of hosting major exhibitions. The trust’s education work is to be reduced and 45 jobs axed.

Ruling Labour councillors decided to support a proposal by rival Lib dem councillors to protect funding at yesterday’s full council meeting.

Leader Coun Julie Dore, said: “We are supporting Museums Sheffield’s appeal against the Arts Council’s decision and have agreed to maintain the council’s financial support to Musuems Sheffield in the next year.”

Staff were given official notification yesterday that 45 of the trust’s 107 staff are to be axed.