Redbridge Music School members urge caution before cuts
YOUNGSTERS are waging a battle against the council over threats of cuts to Redbridge Music School.
Hundreds of signatures have been collected since the weekend urging council chiefs not to impose savage savings at the school in Fencepiece Road, Hainault.
They fear drastic cuts as part of savings for the 2011/12 council budget will shut off the music school to a new generation of youngsters and threaten its long-term future.
Member Elizabeth Milne, 16, said: “We know we’re going to get some cuts but we want to make sure we’re not at the top of the list because the music school is very important.”
The teenager, who goes to Mayfield School, Pedley Road, Goodmayes, said: “People who don’t have money would be most affected if they increase fees.”
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On Monday, more than 30 music school members were in Ilford Town Centre collecting signatures calling on Redbridge Council – which provides about a third of its funding through a block grant – not to make dramatic cuts to the service.
Edgar Divver, 16, goes to Canon Palmer Catholic High School, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings.
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He said: “More young people would be on the streets if it were not for the music school, as it gives young people something to do in their free time and helps them socially as well.
“Music also enhances academic success.”
Describing Redbridge Music School as a “second home”, 17-year-old Rebecca Gapes said: “It’s like a family at the music school.
“We’re worried that they might cut the choir but that’s where everyone gets together so it’s really important.”
The more than 900 members of the music school perform concerts every year including at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.
A group on social networking website Facebook called Save Music School has been set up, with 400 people already joining the cause to halt possible cuts, which members say will impact on its orchestras and bands as well as its work in schools across the borough.