Kirklees Music School has relaunched a fundraising bid to help safeguard the town’s musical heritage.

Principal of the school, Thom Meredith, hopes that the Gift of Music scheme will ensure that free teaching for those most in need can continue, even if it loses out on a vital £299,000 Kirklees Council grant next month.

Thom revealed last November that free tuition for looked after children and subsidised rates for those from low income households could bear the brunt if the grant is pulled.

Now he hopes that the fundraising scheme could lessen the damage of any funding shortfalls and keep music tuition open to as many people in the area as possible.

Thom, whose school currently helps 7,000 young people and adults to learn how to play, said: “Given the sadly uncertain future of funding for Kirklees Music School, we are trying as many alternative funding routes as possible.

“One of these is the Gift of Music, which we originally set up after our event at the John Smith stadium in 2012.

“It funds lessons for three years for those referred to us through schools who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford them.

“We’ve got enough donations to do this for four students at the moment but given our new funding pressures one of our aims is to be able to continue to offer this service and expand it to even more people who may become at risk of cuts to our subsidised and free services in the future.

“Some kind businesses and other donors have helped make this possible and it would be fantastic if more could help expand the scheme to those in need.”

Thom Meredith of Kirklees Music School
Thom Meredith
 

Another area at risk if there is a funding shortfall are the centre’s seven sites, of which some may be forced to close.

Others areas include financial help for families accessing minority instruments, live performances in schools and large scale concerts, networking meetings for school music teachers and administrative costs.

Thom will meet with students and parents over the coming month to ask them for more suggestions on how to raise more money.

Thom said: “Any cuts will leave quite a hole and we want to keep the school open to as many as it is now.

“The issue is how to get the funding for that to happen and how we can change how we run things, despite having made several efficiency savings already in the past.

“Asking those involved will hopefully help us find some answers collaboratively.”

Colne Valley Labour candidate Jane East backed the appeal after meeting Music School officials.

She said: “The work of Kirklees Music School is outstanding for the amount of money it receives and I commend the dedication of the staff to bring music to people from all backgrounds across the region.

“These cuts whilst not the fault of Kirklees Council will have a detrimental effect on many young people’s lives. We need to explore all options to try and secure funding to save this service for future generations to enjoy.

“This is another issue of fairness. We don’t want music teaching to become the domain of the affluent. We want talented children from ordinary families to have the chance to flourish.”