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Grant blow for Hampshire aviation musem
10:30am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in News
IT IS the attraction often described as the jewel in the crown of Southampton’s tourism industry.
For decades the Solent Sky Museum has told the fascinating tales behind the city’s aeronautic past.
But its director says the museum will now have to cut back as it faces up to the news that the city council has cut its funding for the next financial year.
Alan Jones said the refusal by the authority to grant any of the £50,000 grant applied for represented a “huge blow for heritage” in the city.
But council bosses say it is not the end for links between the authority and the museum, and it can apply for funding again next year.
The aviation museum received a £50,000 grant, which was to last for two financial years, from the city council in 2011.
But it has been left empty-handed in the latest round of council funding hand-outs.
And with Hampshire County Council announcing it was to reduce its grants to the museum in January, Mr Jones says ||the hours of its two paid members of staff will now have to be reduced.
He said: “This museum is about paying a tribute to the Spitfire, 8,000 of which were built in Southampton and without which we might have lost the Battle of Britain, and therefore the Second World War.
“If we were in America, when you drove into the city you would be welcomed by a sign saying ‘welcome to Spitfire City’. But as we’re in Southampton, you aren’t.
“I think it’s disgraceful that the city council doesn’t have a tourism strategy, and they don’t give a damn about the city’s heritage.
“Not getting the money is symptomatic of a huge blow to our heritage. But the bottom line is that we will survive.”
Cabinet member John Noon, who oversaw the grant assessments, said: “The museum can apply for grants in the future if there’s any other funding available.
“It’s just that in this case they didn’t meet the criteria. It’s unfortunate and very sad that they and a number of other organisations did not get any funding, but I hope they continue to make a contribution to the city as they do.”