Jackson's Lane campaigners celebrate 11th hour reprieve

PUBLISHED: 16:51 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 07 September 2010

Tan Parsons AN ARTS centre in Highgate has been saved from the brink of ruin after winning a last-minute reprieve. The Arts Council decided last week not to withdraw £135,000 from Jacksons Lane, which means the centre can continue its outreach work inste

Tan Parsons

AN ARTS centre in Highgate has been saved from the brink of ruin after winning a last-minute reprieve.

The Arts Council decided last week not to withdraw £135,000 from Jacksons Lane, which means the centre can continue its outreach work instead of being forced to become a purely commercial operation.

The decision goes against recommendations made by the Arts Council's own officers and was swung by Haringey Council's last minute promise to double its spending on the venue.

Jacksons Lane boss Kate Sarley said: "This is great news. We couldn't have done this without the support of Haringey Council, as well as local people. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and well wishes we have received from local residents.

"I am sure that it was this partnership and commitment to a fruitful relationship between Jacksons Lane and Haringey which gave the Arts Council the confidence to review their decision, and all Haringey residents can be proud of that.

"We are looking forward to developing the centre over the coming period. I hope that local people will continue to support us and come to see just how much we have to offer."

Haringey has increased its annual support for the centre to £110,000 and subsidised rent worth more than £60,000 as well as offering support for older people's activities.

The council's community involvement boss Cllr Matt Cooke, said he was delighted with the decision.

"This is fantastic news for the centre, and a real victory for our partnership working over the past 12 months," he said.

"We have consistently supported Jacksons Lane over many years, and remain totally committed to this precious centre for the arts.

"I would also like to thank all those local people who so eloquently ex-pressed to us and to the Arts Council the value they attach to the centre."

Arts Council boss Moira Sinclair said the funding reprieve is subject to Haringey Council and Jacksons Lane agreeing to conditions regarding continued business growth, and the development of a "realistic refurbishment scheme" for the building.

She said: "This was a very welcome last minute offer by Haringey, without which we would not have been able to continue our commitment to Jacksons Lane.

"We retain serious concerns about the financial viability of Jacksons Lane and the physical condition of the building, and will be working closely with Haringey over the next 10 months to ensure that these are addressed."

Jacksons Lane has struggled for years with funding problems and in May 2008 another funding body, London Councils, withdrew support for the venue which had been used for work with disabled and elderly people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The centre, which has 2,000 users per week, is used as a theatre but is also home to other classes, courses and clubs. It reopened in January 2008 after being closed for a year in which Haringey Council spent £500,000 on roof repairs and a new cafe.

In early 2010 the Arts Council will review the progress which Haringey and Jacksons Lane have made and then make a decision on further funding.

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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