Fringe Box



Opinion: Valuable Contribution Of Volunteers At Electric Theatre Must Be Acknowledged

Published on: 6 Dec, 2015
Updated on: 6 Dec, 2015

By Hon Alderman Gordon Bridger

The concern for the economic costs of the Surrey Archaeological Society, the Electric Theatre and possibly the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, and the now long lost Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, fail to take into account the importance of voluntary effort in a modern society which is no longer dependent on family support.

Hon Alderman Gordon Bridger 2They not only provide support but they encourage creativity and a sense of community which arises from self help. They provide a degree of social cohesion and local loyalty which enrich our lives.

To seek to measure them in terms of financial efficiency of private firms is to misunderstand their role and the importance in establishing a lively community.

I hope many will attend the public meeting organised by the Academy of Contemporary Music (surely this should have been a Guildford Borough Council meeting?) on Wednesday, December 9 .

Opinion Logo 2The following questions would seem to me to be relevant:

1. How is the market being ”tested” by telling everyone beforehand that at the Electric Theatre there will be an annual rent of £125,000 for this facility?

2. How was this figure arrived at? Without stating what the Electric Theatre can be used for bidders have no guidance and must guess what would be acceptable.

3. How is any community organisation going to be able to guarantee a £125,000 annual rental? And what negotiations were there with ACM on this figure?).

4. Since the ACM already uses some of the Electric Theatre facilities what is wrong with continuing this way in future?

The Electric Theatre is a community facility, it was created by the community for the community and handing it over to a private company undermines the whole concept community responsibility and if it is not as financially efficient as a private organisation so be it.

Electric_Theatre_7_1024_768_80The cost to the community of the theatre of £250,000 per annum is equivalent to less than £2 per resident, or around £5 per average tax payer per year.

As one of the richest communities in the country we should surely be encouraging not discouraging voluntary effort. Does no one on the council care?

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