More than 2,000 people sign petition to save Harrow Young Musicians from Harrow Borough Council cuts

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition to save Harrow Young Musicians.

To date 2,040 people have signed the petition, which is calling on Harrow Borough Council not to cut the service’s funding.

It was revealed in December’s draft budget that the council is considering withdrawing the funding completely as a way of saving money.

The petition states: “Without funding HYM will cease to exist, or at least as we know it.

“Music School has always stood by the idea that its opportunities should be available to as many young people as possible, regardless of expense.

“If it were to remain open after losing the grant, the marked increase in fees necessary to sustain HYM would destroy the whole ethos that it has worked so hard to build."

It adds: “HYM is not just a place to play incredible music. It is a place to make some great friends and share wonderful experiences.”

Currently Harrow Young Musicians enables 400 of the borough’s young people to play in bands and orchestras for the subsidised price of £250 a year.

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if my younger daughter was not afforded the same opportunities my eldest has had but that is the reality if funding is withdrawn.”

On the topic of funding cuts Mr Horne added: “If the funding were to be withdrawn the orchestra would not be a true reflection of the multicultural borough that Harrow is – the funding enables all Harrow residents to be able to be part of a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“If the funding were to be withdrawn, the orchestra would be forced to be elitist as only those who could afford it could continue.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 final decision on funding will be made at a council meeting next month.

If they do approve the proposals then funding will cease from April.

In a statement the council said: “Harrow Council is the lead body in Harrow music education hub and directly delivers music teaching to around 5,000 pupils in schools across the borough.

“The council is currently supporting Harrow Young Musicians (HYM) with grant funding. It delivers advanced music tuition to many students inside and outside the borough.

“Like every local authority in the country, Harrow Council is facing its most challenging financial situation in decades. We have had to deliver a number of savings and have so far done this while protecting services for our residents.

"If the decision is taken, we will be working with HYM through the Harrow music education hub to help them look at reducing their costs and supporting them to access alternative sources of funding, so that they can continue to deliver music services to our community.”

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