Cuts hit arts and sport

Mathew Hickling, of Priesthorpe School, competes in the 100m. FDSO disability sport feature.
Mathew Hickling, of Priesthorpe School, competes in the 100m. FDSO disability sport feature.

THOUSANDS of disabled people could lose their access to sport when £130,000 is slashed from the budget for community and arts organisations.

The financial drain on sports and culture in Wakefield was laid bare this week when it emerged the Federation of Disability Sports Organisations (FDSO) could be under threat of closure.

The Ossett-based FDSO, which provides training and sporting events for disabled people, relies on around £40,000-a-year from West Yorkshire Joint Services (WYJS). Government cuts mean the cash will not be forthcoming next year.

FDSO chief executive Kevan Halliday-Brown praised WYJS for its support over the last 18 years.

He said: “We are devastated by the loss of the grant. Its affect is already being felt quite badly by this organisation.”

WYJS will withdraw around £800,000 in funding for West Yorkshire organisations next year.

Wakefield’s Faceless, which provides arts and drama for disadvantaged communities, will lose around £8,000.

Artistic director Bev Adams said: “It has been proved time and time again that there are huge social benefits from the arts. This means we won’t be able to deliver all the projects we have been.”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park received around £38,000 from WYJS last year.

Deputy director Richard Dean said: “The loss of public funding means we have to work harder than ever to ensure that we continue to contribute to the artistic, economic, social and overall quality of life of the whole community.”

Wakefield arts body Beam, The Art House and charity training body Fit4funding will also lose cash.

All received a letter in March warning them that the WYJS grant – one of a string of community funding schemes which have been axed – was set to run out.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box said: “We are looking at whether we are in a position to continue to fund organisations in the district which were previously supported by West Yorkshire Grants, and a report will go to cabinet for discussion as soon as possible.”