A PETITION urging the council to reverse its 50 per cent cut to funding for The Anvil has attracted more than 4,000 signatures.

Earlier this year, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council agreed to reduce the amount of money it will give to the town’s arts organisation by more than £400,000.

This saw it ‘go back on’ a five-year agreement with Anvil Arts, which began in 2017.

It comes after the trust has lost approximately £1.4 million as a result of pandemic closures, leading to CEO Matthew Cleaver saying that redundancies will be ‘inevitable’ and all services likely to be ‘scaled back’.

He said: “Everything that we provide will potentially have to be significantly altered. We don’t have a choice, with a cut of that scale being imposed so quickly.”

The petition, which has 4,662 signatures to date, calls on the council to:

  • reverse the cut and reach a new funding agreement with the Anvil Trust;
  • sustain local investment in Basingstoke and Deane’s arts and culture;
  • recognise the vital role the arts can play in Basingstoke and Deane’s recovery from the pandemic – supporting our wellbeing, community and local economy.

It states: “The council’s decision to slash local funding now is short-sighted and risks undermining the vital role arts and entertainment can play in supporting Basingstoke and its recovery from the pandemic. We urge the council to reconsider.”

Sharing it on its Facebook page, Anvil Arts wrote: “Arts organisations and their programmes are a vital part of the community. Please sign and share the petition to help us fight back.”