ANVIL Arts is set to ramp up its campaign against Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s decision to cut funding by beaming large projections this evening (Friday).

The windows of The Anvil and The Haymarket will both be used to project the campaign slogan #ReverseTheCut.

The council had earlier agreed to reduce the amount of money it will give to the town’s arts organisation by 50 per cent, which amounts to more than £400,000.

Anvil Arts will film the projections and share them live on their Facebook page, encouraging people to watch them from home and avoiding any crowds gathering outside. 

Alongside the projections, the organisation has also released an ‘Impact Report’, which sets out the compelling reasons for protecting and supporting arts and entertainment in Basingstoke and reversing the cut.  

The report features three key sections -  the cultural opportunities for Basingstoke post-Covid for which Anvil Arts will play a key role; the impact of Anvil Arts on the town and borough over the last 27 years; and the detrimental impact the council’s proposed investment cut to Anvil Arts will have on their entertainment offering and community education programme  

Matthew Cleaver, Chief Executive of The Anvil Trust – the independent charity that runs Anvil Arts – said: “Our fantastic venues mean that we are able to offer a rich and diverse arts and entertainment programme, enabling Basingstoke to punch above its weight and compete with larger towns and cities. Meanwhile, our community education programme engages with 35,000 residents every year, including in schools, care homes and with some of our most vulnerable communities.  

“The relationship with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and its continued investment over the last 26 years has been key to enabling this. We understand the financial challenges that COVID-19 has brought, but we are concerned this sudden drastic cut is a short-sighted approach that will have far longer-term repercussions for the town, its businesses and communities. 

“Our cultural offering is absolutely fundamental to Basingstoke’s image, reputation and economic recovery. We owe it to the people that live, work or visit Basingstoke to do everything in our power to get this cut reversed. We continue to call on the council to reverse this cut and enter into a proper dialogue with us, so that we can agree a solution that works for everyone.”

The #ReverseTheCut campaign has received widespread support from residents and businesses since Anvil Arts was forced to launch it after the council’s decision at their Cabinet meeting on March 9.  

Independent organisation, Public Campaign for the Arts, is also lending their support to Anvil Arts’ campaign. Their petition launched just two weeks ago has also generated 6,000 signatures and more than 1,000 comments of support.