Our Reverse the Cut campaign – what we’re doing and why
Anvil Arts is the largest performing arts organisation in Hampshire and is at the heart of Basingstoke and Deane’s cultural offering, with our three venues, The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge, providing the best of the performing arts and entertainment for nearly 30 years.
Before COVID-19, our programme included delivering around 420 annual performances to over 170,000 people and an extensive community engagement programme to over 35,000 people including in schools and care homes. The quality and reputation of The Anvil in particular enables it to attract national and international performers and boost the reputation and profile of the town.
What is the Reverse the Cut campaign?
We run our venues on behalf of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. 2021-22 is the final year of the current five-year agreement between the Trust and the Council for the management and operation of The Anvil and The Haymarket. The total investment from the Council has already reduced by 40% over the last seven years.
The Anvil Trust has demonstrated 26 years of financial sustainability. In spite of this reduced public investment, the budget has been consistently achieved every year.
At the council’s Cabinet meeting on March 9th 2021, they took the decision to approve an ‘at least’ 50% cut to its investment to The Anvil Trust for the current financial year.
This decision comes on top of a year where the estimated impact of COVID-19 to The Anvil Trust with the closure of our venues is a loss of more than £1.5m in income. Over 60% of our income is generated through our programme and associated activities.
A cut of 50% will at the very least mean:
• An immediate 10% increase in hire rates for all community organisations using The Anvil or The Haymarket, which will have a significant impact on hundreds of users.
• An immediate 33% increase in booking fees for tickets for future performances.
• An at least 60% reduction in our vital community engagement programmes.
• Redundancies in an already small staff team, affecting the services we can provide.
• The removal of around £2.4m of business from the town centre just at the point when it has been identified as the third most vulnerable in the country.
In the longer term, the knock-on effect of these increases could reduce our ability to attract top quality performers and sold-out audiences.
Failing to provide adequate investment will damage our service to communities in Basingstoke and Deane at the very time that they most need help to recover and grow. It will also have a wider negative impact on the Borough’s reputation and future economic prosperity.
Our Reverse the Cut campaign messages is simple. We are calling on the council to reverse their decision of an ‘at least’ 50% cut and to collaborate with us on a solution that works for everyone.
Please support our campaign by:
- Sending an email to the councillor for the ward you live in. You can find the list of wards and email addresses here: democracy.basingstoke.gov.uk
- Posting on social media using the hashtag #ReverseTheCut and tagging in the council @BasingstokeGov and @AnvilArts
- Sign this #ReverseTheCut petition that has been launched by independent organisation, Public Campaign for the Arts. campaignforthearts.org