Frank Field MP
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There is plenty of enthusiasm for the People's Williamson

19
Nov

We had the most wonderful meeting at the Friends of the Williamson on Saturday. There was a big turnout and plenty of enthusiasm for its future.

You may recall that this time last year it looked as though the Williamson might need to close its doors for good. There was no way Wirral Council could have continued to fund the gallery given that the Coalition Government had cut its grants by over a third.

Instead of accepting the closure of the gallery, the brilliant response from our community has saved its future and, indeed, given it a new lease of life. In my mind, it is now the People’s Williamson.

We now have a real possibility of it being run in the public interest by a Trust. In doing so, it will greatly improve the standing of this great small art gallery rooted firmly in its community.

The input from Wirral Council couldn’t have been better, and Councillor Paul Doughty is now helping to steer this process. The Friends of the Williamson have acted to ensure that the Council’s funding crisis is used to great advantage. They have put up members to form a Strategic Board and a business plan is now in place.

A note of caution, though. We should avoid unnecessarily muddying the waters at this stage by involving too many other organisations. The gallery may want to buy services first from the National Museums before speaking to them about any possible mergers.

For now, we should allow our new Trust to take command of our treasured gallery.

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