‘Campaign of fear’ over future of Redbridge Music Service criticised

The Redbridge Music School brass band at the Mayor's Carol Service at Southwark Cathedral.

The Redbridge Music School brass band at the Mayor's Carol Service at Southwark Cathedral. - Credit: Kois Miah

A parent teacher association has been accused of running a “campaign of fear” against a proposal to scrap funding for Redbridge Music Service.

The future of the centre in Fencepiece Road, Barkingside, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – is uncertain as the council proposes to reduce its funding from £370,000 to zero over a two year period.

But deputy leader of Redbridge Council Cllr Wes Streeting is eager to stress that the music service will not be closing.

He said: “We have £70m worth of savings to find while trying to come up with the best way of safe guarding services.

“We would like to see a company take over the instrument hire centre so not only will we save money but the value and the quality of the service will remain the same.

“We want to consult with music users and it is unfortunate that even before this conversation has taken place, there is a campaign of fear running, making people believe that the service is closing and I think this is irresponsible.”

Redbridge Council proposed as part of its budget cuts to slash £185,000 of the service’s funding over the next two years which goes towards providing music lessons to children and the instrument hire centre.

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Chairwoman of Friends of the Redbridge Music Service, Lynn Hammond, said: “The council is assuming that music can continue with no financial support.

“They are under-estimating the importance of music education to our children.

“We are just reiterating the facts that we discovered in the council’s proposed budget cuts.

“If people do become concerned because of what we are saying, then that is not our fault – we are just informing those who need to know what is happening.”

The group will be holding a protest outside Redbridge Town Hall on March 2.

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