Cuts put an end to county orchestra

Lancashire Sinfonietta:  Alfie Boe
Lancashire Sinfonietta: Alfie Boe

Lancashire’s only professional chamber orchestra has announced it is to fold.

The Lancashire Sinfonietta, whose past performers include Fleetwood’s Alfie Boe, said the decision followed an 80% funding cut by the county council.

In 2012, the council gave £144,000 to the orchestra.

It applied for £96,500 in 2013 but was given £28,591.

Director Richard Hooper said it was a big loss as the orchestra helped nurture youngsters into music. Lancashire County Council (LCC) described the decision as “sad news”.

A council spokesman said the authority was going through a period of “real austerity” and had to make £300m in savings over four years.

Alfie Boe performed with the Sinfonietta at a sold-out concert at Fleetwood Marine Hall in 2008 (pictured above)

LCC said it had “supported the orchestra for a long time” and worked with them “over an extended period” to help it establish itself as a private company.

A spokesman said: “This allowed Sinfonietta to bid for funding from a range of bodies, including ourselves and the Arts Council, on an equal footing with other arts organisations.

“While we continue to support the arts, the county council is facing unprecedented cuts from central government and has taken more than £200m from its budget from 2011 to 2014 and has to save a further £300m over the next four years.”