Funding saves music schools

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KIRKLEES Music School is to retain all of its sites in the area thanks to national funding.

The Huddersfield-based school announced last year it planned to close Batley and Cleckheaton Music Centres, leaving Mirfield Music Centre as a base for North Kirklees.

It was also to close one of its sites in Huddersfield.

After complaints from parents, the school agreed to an extended consultation period, but warned if people were not using the centres, they would have to close because of lack of funding.

This week the school has announced all sites are to remain open thanks to a pot of money supplied by the government as an investment into the arts.

Principal Thom Meredith said: “The government announced in November that children should have the opportunity to play in ensembles and perform in groups from an early age.

“It was an ideal time for us to marry that with how we use the funding that we have, allowing us to keep all seven music sites across Kirklees open.”

Mr Meredith said the school would now be working to raise awareness to ensure as many people as possible had access to its services.

“Our sites are of great benefit for children, not just musically, but they are great socially and help to build confidence in young people,” he added.

“This is a much more positive message to pass to parents.”

Mr Meredith said it was Kirklees Council that was able to get £266,000 from the government funding.

He said: “The council values what music can give to a community and therefore are continuing to fund us. We remain grateful to it.”

After Kirklees Music School announced its closure plan last June, parents at Batley Music Centre rallied together in an attempt to save their service.

Armed with petitions, the group battled to get the music school to re-think its plans.

Mr Meredith visited the centre at Batley Salvation Army personally on Thursday night.

He said: “The parents have really galvanised themselves into a strong group in Batley to try and raise membership numbers and getting the centre involved in local community events.

“It was just so heartwarming to see that.”