FROM THE MINISTER
Ministry of Culture, Arts and Leisure
Mannystrie 0 Fowkgates, Airts an Aisdom
An Roinn Cultuir, Ealaoin agus Foilliochta
1-7 Bedford Street
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9051 5202
Text phone: +44 (0) 28 9052 7668
17th April 2012
Our Ref Sub 236/2012
Dr Ian Adamson
The Somme Association Ltd
233 Bangor Road
A chara Ian
SOMME CENTRE– CENTENARIES AND COMMEMORATIONS EVENTS
I would like to thank you for meeting with me on the 2nd April to discuss the Somme Heritage Centre. I have considered a number of the issues that you and your colleagues raised at that meeting. Broadly these fall into two categories, the ongoing sustainability of the Somme Heritage Centre and a future programme of centenaries and commemorations events.
Sustainability of Somme Heritage Centre
There is no statutory obligation on my Department to fund the Centre, nor is there any other obligation on my Department to ensure the sustainability of the Centre, which is a privately owned independent museum. The sustainability of the Centre is the responsibility of the Trustees of the Somme Association. My Department will not reinstate ongoing core funding to the Centre.
In the context of our discussions, it is clear to me that there are other potential funders who you should approach for assistance. I would ask that you consider how the Trustees should take this forward. In particular it seems unusual that Ards and North Down Borough Councils contribute such a small amount of the overall costs of running the Centre if they see an economic benefit from the 30,000 visitors who come to the locality. I would also suggest that you contact the Heritage Lottery Fund regarding its ‘Catalyst’ scheme.
Commemorations programme and the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme
My Department is jointly taking the lead on the Executive’s approach to the Decade of Centenaries. While we did not have time to fully discuss issues around the approaching centenary of the Battle of the Somme you restated your commitment to cross community and North / South educational work. I note your willingness to play a full part in the Executive’s Commemorations Programme.
Given these very particular circumstances I am prepared to consider an application for financial support (up to £30,000 per annum for three years) a programme of educational work by the Centre in the lead up to the centenary. I would ask that you develop a suitable proposal (Business Case)and submit it to my Department in line with the following conditions:
The funds provided by my Department must be used for the planning and undertaking of a programme of education work around the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and other decade of commemoration events;
The work is completed in 2016;
The Proposal is in line with the principles of the Executive’s commemorations programme; and You demonstrate the sustainability of the Centre by securing at least £30,000 additional funding per annum from other sources for a three year period. These funds must be available to the Somme Heritage Centre to cover the cost of general administrative expenditure and salaries. This obviously excludes the baseline of £37,000 CRU money and the £10,000 you receive from the two local borough councils. All funds received from the Somme Association may be included in this £30k figure.
Your proposal will be subject to Departmental review to ensure that it aligns with current government policy.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Is mise le meas
Carál NI Chuilín, MLA
Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure