Dimbleby blasts council over Towner gallery cut

Eastbourne slashes gallery cash by £200,000

Council funding cuts have put the future of the Towner Gallery in jeopardy, says its chair, broadcaster David Dimbleby.

He was reacting to news of a 33% cut in the gallery’s funding by Eastbourne Borough council. The council said the cuts were necessary because its own government funding had been severely hit.

But Dimbleby said, “The council is proposing cuts that jeopardise the future of a critically acclaimed and popular arts organisation that attracts nearly 150,000 visitors a year. The Towner has played a central role in the cultural and social life of the town, the surrounding area and further afield for nearly 100 years. We could lose six out of ten exhibitions a year, as well as our award-winning learning programme, putting at risk everything that the Towner stands for. “

Officials believe a further cut in council funding could be on the cards within four years, which could affect the Towners’s Arts Council funding.

The Towner Gallery, which is over 100 years old and is one of the largest galleries in the South-East attracts nearly 150,000 visitors a year.

Currently Eastbourne Bourough Council, the Towner's biggest stakeholder, funds the gallery to the tune of £600,000.

A spokesperson from Eastbourne Borough Council said, “Despite the most severe year on year cuts in government funding to the council, this is the first reduction in financial support to the Towner. However, the Towner will still receive £400,000 in direct support in 2018/19 from the council and significant indirect support.”

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