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Harrow Young Musicians face losing their funding from Harrow Borough Council
Parents have reacted with dismay to news that funding for Harrow Young Musicians may be taken away.
Harrow Borough Council is considering stopping its subsidy of the organisation, which allows as many as 400 of the borough’s children to be part of bands and orchestras.
Peter Horne, of The Highway, Stanmore, has two daughters who play in the orchestra.
Katie, 18, has been part of Harrow Young Musicians for ten years and plays the viola. Eleanor, ten, has been playing the violin with the group for two years.
Mr Horne, a civil servant, said: “HYM is such a good thing for the borough of Harrow and for the kids.
“Playing music in a group is so good for their development and they are wonderful ambassadors for Harrow. It reflects really well on the borough.”
He added: “People love belonging to it. My daughters thoroughly enjoy it and it gives them an amazingly wide circle of friends throughout the borough.
“It would be disastrous if my younger daughter was not afforded the same opportunities my eldest has had but that is the reality if funding is withdrawn.”
Currently parents pay about £250 a year for each child who is in the group.
If funding is withdrawn the group will either close altogether or fees will increase dramatically.
Mr Horne said: “If the funding were to be withdrawn the orchestra would not be a true reflection of the multicultural borough that Harrow is – the funding enables all Harrow residents to be able to be part of a unique organization – unparalleled in any other London Borough – regardless of their parents’ income levels.
“If the funding were to be withdrawn, the orchestra would be forced to be elitist as only those who could afford it could continue. This would wipe out half of the orchestra.”
Harrow Young Musicians rehearses and performs at Hatch End High School, in Headstone Lane, and the students have recently performed for the Queen as well as giving recitals at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican.
The Harrow Times is awaiting a comment from Harrow Borough Council.