Jan 24 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
MORE than 2,000 people in less than a week joined the growing opposition to a proposal to end the grant to Harrow Young Musicians.
Charity trustee Dr Bareen Shah handed in a petition to Harrow Council’s cabinet committee on Tuesday with the aim of persuading the Labour administration to shelve plans to axe from April the Hatch End High School-based organisation’s £58,000 annual payment.
The money helps subsidise a number of pan-borough orchestras and bands who perform concerts, and buys instruments for the youngsters.
Dr Shah told the Observer afterwards: “The petition was started by a girl who just left Harrow Young Musicians and she is at university now and still has a sister who is in the orchestra and plays violin.
“We adults were dithering, toying with the idea of starting a petition, debating should we wait to hear what the council says, and by the time we’d thought about it, the kids had done it.
“There’s more than 2,000 signatures now on the Change.org petition and some of the younger kids, aged about 11 or 12, have started a physical petition in their schools and we think there’s 70 signatures on there from Nower Hill and Whitmore schools.
“Along with the petition I submitted the 563 comments, 90 per cent of which were from children who are in Harrow Young Musicians or adults who used to be members, explaining how they benefitted not just musically, but socially and organisationally.”
Councillor David Perry (Labour), the council’s portfolio holder for community and cultural services, told the charity’s representatives at the cabinet meeting: “HYM representatives will be meeting with senior council officers and myself this week to discuss the draft budget proposal and to see what assistance can be provided from our own music service, and also the recently launched Harrow Education Music Hub.
“Harrow Council is committed to working with HYM through these difficult times, and that is why I am meeting with HYM representatives in order for us both to work together in the interests of the young people who benefit from the organisation.”
Harrow Young Musicians’ chairman Lindsay Davies and director Mark Golding were due to meet Mr Perry and council officers yesterday (Wednesday), and the full 2013/14 council budget will be introduced to the cabinet committee on February 14 before it is voted upon by a full council meeting a fortnight later.