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Letter from Christine Chapman Cynon Valley Museum – RCT Service Changes Phase 2

cynon_valley_museum.jpg

TO: Mr Keith Griffiths
Chief Executive, RCT CBC

Dear Mr Griffiths,

Re: Cynon Valley Museum – RCT Service Changes Phase 2

I am writing in response to the Council’s proposed Phase 2 changes regarding service delivery. As I mentioned in my response to Phase 1, I understand that the Council is in a difficult position having to fund £70 million in savings due to the scorched earth austerity measures being imposed by the UK Government. Difficult choices must be made, and not all services can be protected at their previous level.

That said, I hope that plans to close Cynon Valley Museum would be reconsidered. I note the whole package of heritage cuts would only lead to savings of £350,000. Furthermore, I have seen data which suggests the money saved by closing the Cynon Valley Museum only directly results in savings of just over £200,000. Comparatively, the money saved is a drop in the ocean compared to the wider cuts that are required.

The loss of the Cynon Valley Museum will be damaging to the cultural life of the area. I know the Council, for example in ensuring access to library or leisure services, has taken pains to ensure the equitable distribution of services throughout RCT – the removal of the Museum from my constituency will leave a large gap in provision.

It is sad that these plans are being proposed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the First World War, the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike and the 20th anniversary of the Tower Colliery sit in. The Museum could be involved in exciting prospects to explore these anniversaries, and improve our awareness of the distinctive heritage of our communities.

The Museum has a vital role to play both educationally and in the promotion of arts, and access to the arts, throughout our community. A commission is due to report to the Culture Minister on how we can involve more disadvantaged people in the arts and culture, and it would be a shame if the Council cannot wait to see what is suggested in this.

If the Council will not reconsider its proposals, I would urge you to actively engage with all the firm supporters of the Museum to explore other, innovative ways in which services and
provision could be retained. At the least, I hope the Council could support the community to establish a trust to take over the premises, and would provide officers and support to help make this vision a reality.

The strong support that has been generated for the campaign shows how much the Museum is valued as a ‘jewel in the crown’, both locally and over a much wider area. This is a much loved institution, and I hope it remains in the Cynon Valley.

Yours sincerely

Christine Chapman
Assembly Member for Cynon Valley

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