Threat of shutdown at Hillingdon Music Service

Jack Fallow expresses his concern about the withdrawal of council funding from Hillingdon Music Service

On Thursday evening, Hillingdon councillors will meet to consider closing their music education. And what they intend to discuss is a cut. Not just trimming the budget, but completely withdrawing funding, which will lead to a shutdown of the service.

If you are not from Hillingdon, you are probably imagining that this is a Labour wheeze to embarrass Cameron. But wait, Hillingdon is a Tory council, so that is not the answer. John Randall, their MP, is Deputy Chief Whip for Cameron. He wont be pushing music as a cost saver given that Mr Gove is so enthusiastic.

Over 400 children attend Hillingdon bands, orchestras and choirs each week. The photo is of the Concert Band on tour. Nearly 2000 young musicians receive lessons in schools.

Unless the councillors change their mind, the beat is about to stop in Hillingdon.

Write to Council Leader Raymond Puddifooot: leader@hillingdon.gov.uk

An Early Day Motion was proposed in the House of Commons yesterday

Categories: miscellaneous

7 replies »

  1. And this is only the start.

    LB Hillingdon Cabinet member responsible for Arts & Libraries is Henry Higgins (yes, honestly). HH has a good track record on libraries, they are his pet project. Most of the cash seems to go on new IT rather than on books. But spending on libraries, which he controls, has been protected.

    However spending on arts, that was previously controlled elsewhere in the council has been decimated. The plan for the schools arts service has been outlined above. He has also diverted the funds that used to go to the Voluntary arts sector, and taken it into his arts service. So instead of being managed by volunteers on behalf of the community it will now be managed by HH staff on behalf of ? (guess who?)

    Meanwhile the Council plans to build a brand new white elephant 1200 seat theatre (no doubt to be named after someone important from the council.

    So if anyone can apply some pressure – please help!!

  2. Hillingdon Council have responded on Twitter with the following statement :

    Cabinet is taking a decision tomorrow evening about whether or not to review how the music service is run. More info after that.

    Does anyone close to this situation know more?

  3. I can offer the following note from the Labour Group which is as accurate as I can find:

    Dear all,

    There will be a demonstration outside the civic centre tomorrow evening (Thursday) against cuts to Hillingdon Music Service, the COnnexions service, Social Service bugets, CCTV monitoring stations and a raft of other proposals in tomorrow evenings Cabinet Budget report.

    There has been a huge online protest about the cuts to Hillingdon Music Service in particular; at one point yesterday it was thought that the Council had done a U turn, but the Cabinet papers remain unchanged, so it will still go ahead unless we are there to stop it. Anyone particularly interested in the music service can go to the Council Chamber at 4.45pm to speak to the Leader of the Council, after which our rally will begin at 5pm. Numbers of residents plan to attend the Cabinet meeting at 7pm, but are not allowed to speak.

    I am not allowed to speak anyway, but also have to declare an interest as my daughter Chloe attends HMS.

    Please look at the Cabinet papers online if at all possible, and if you cannot attend please send an email protesting about the cuts to services, despite huge contingency budgets of unspent Government Grant from last year being in the Council balances. The Voluntary Sector has been hit very hard, including Women, refugees, the Arts Association among others and the 15% cuts are way above that of other boroughs. That, together with the fact that this Conservative run Council spent so much money on themselves eg new seats in the Council Chamber, Plasma screen TV for the Leaders Office, mosaic floor outside the Civic centre, means that we need to get our campaigning coats on and get down there.

    John McDonnell has tabled an early day motion in Parliament against the HMS cuts today, please help us in whatever way you can

    Anita MacDonald
    Deputy Leader of the Opposition
    07912 607657

  4. Hi I attend Hillingdon Music Service and I know a bit,but it is all still unsure and noone knows what is going to happen. They are want to cut HMS to build and repair roads or something along those lines it is ridiculous. We are meeting on thursday and are going to sit in with the council and we are protesting before the meeting. there are petitions going around some of the local schools,we have been in the local gazette, mentioned on radio HAYES. FM. Also my sources tell me that bbc is interested with our story. I can post more when I find out. Thanks for the support and if possible can you spread the word. thanx ūüėÄ

  5. This is just insane. All the talk about not saddling our children with a burden of debt – so let's just deny them the opportunities that we had in order to do that?

    I had most of my music education in Hampshire rather than Hillingdon but the crux is that playing music – particularly in bands and orchestras and choirs – opens up opportunities both culturally and neurologically.

    Learning an instrument, and particularly playing in a band, teaches all those values the Tories lament about the absence of – responsibility to your peers, sense of self-deterimination (you progress through your own practice), pulling together for a higher purpose, community…

    It's social and cultural vandalism, against children. The mind boggles at what they think they are doing.

  6. All Hillingdon Council cares about is their future votes. So they' ll upset the families of 2000 kids out of whom some of them wouldn't have voted for them anyway instead of raising taxes and upsetting everybody in the borough. They will continue building new amenities which they can hire out and get cash (recreational swimming costs a lot more than the subsidised swimming squads, gyms and theatres can be hired out whereas the young musicians of the borough bring no cash back.) The Herts Schools (Watford Grammars, Clements Danes, Rickmansworth, Parmitters etc) fare much higher than any school in Hillingdon and take a certain percentage on musical aptitude. The best Hi's in Hillingdon are the Church Schools and as long as the parents clock in 3 out of 4 Sundays at Church the child will get in (I know people who did just that only in order to secure a place.) On the other hand generally Hillingdon schools adore sport and overlook the importance of music. Research has proven that left and right hand co-ordination in instrumental playing engages both lobes of the brain, eyesight, touch and hearing are also engaged, heartbeat and mood can alter according to the piece played and all in all musical kids tend to become far more academic as a result. BUT the Tory Council cares only about securing their future votes so out goes music instead of raising taxes and upsetting the general public. This is who we are dealing with.

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