Friday, 22 February 2013

Without West Park, Business as Usual, but at What and at Whose Cost?

Here's a letter from Mary to the Council:
As a member of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, and a teacher for ArtForms, 
the last few months have been extremely difficult. As far as the 
orchestra is concerned, we have temporary, but inappropriate rehearsal 
space at a local church. There is a problem with storage of our 
equipment. It is very cold, and has poor acoustics for rehearsing. Some 
councillors might like to think we are happily sorted but this is not 
the case. Our conductor, Martin Binks has spent days of his time looking 
at alternative venues - schools, church halls etc, and nothing has 
emerged. West Park Centre fulfilled all our requirements. I know this is 
the situation for many other community groups who used the premises.

As far as ArtForms is concerned, my work in schools has continued okay, 
though the dislocation of the individual teachers from each other, and 
the admin staff  makes life difficult and has had a demoralising effect 
on all of us, even though, as professionals, we are of course delivering 
business as usual. I'm sure you can understand that to have no base or 
centre makes us feel it is much harder to feel we belong as a group. i 
strongly hope that this is not your intention.

On behalf of other ArtForms' departments, the logistics of instrument 
storage, loading, parking, running numerous groups off-site, trying to 
run development days for pupils, training days for staff, the music 
technology studio ,and the Gordon Parry Centre for pupils with special 
needs- all these things have been incredibly difficult and have affected 
teachers and pupils alike.

i will leave this here, but urge you to consider again, the decision to 
close the centre. iIt is unique, and surely the cost of refurbishment 
would not be more than the other options you are considering.

Yours faithfullly,

Mary P ARCM, GRSM ,PGCE,   Artforms teacher/ principal clarinet 
player- leeds Symphony Orchestra

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