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Volunteer action group submits takeover plan for Wirral's Williamson gallery
10:11am Friday 21st February 2014 in News
A plan aimed at securing the future of the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum has been submitted to Wirral Council.
The scheme sets out proposals to takeover management of the Slatey Road gallery - but it warns “core funding” will still need to be provided by the town hall.
The local authority is in financial straits and needs to reduce spending by £44m over the next two years.
The council wants to end an annual subsidy of £400,000 shared between the gallery and Birkenhead Priory, and has given the volunteer group a year to formulate its management proposals.
Wirral Council’s cabinet last week voted to re-phase savings, allowing more time for the group to develop an alternative model.
However, the volunteers say providing adequate core funding in the medium-term will be essential in order to enable the new management partnership - working with National Museums Liverpool - to develop a successful business plan.
Professor Robert Lee, action group chairman, said: “I am pleased the Williamson will not close next year - but its future is not yet safe.
“This will depend on a commitment from the council to continue to provide core funding.
“While we understand the difficult financial position of the council, we will continue to press for an adequate funding base which needs to be agreed by the end of May.”
The group’s strategic plan is designed to develop the Williamson as a centre for artistic excellence and as a focal point for history and heritage.
It says the gallery will become a “community asset” which will contribute to the education, health and wellbeing of local people.
The future mission for the Williamson will be as: “The Gallery and Museum that transforms lives by bringing art and heritage to life.”
Julian Treuherz, a member of the group and a former Keeper of the Walker Art Gallery, said: “The Williamson has provided artistic inspiration for Wirral residents and visitors since 1928 and we want this to continue.”
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