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'Clap For Live' to support Spalding's South Holland Centre staff

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A 'Clap For Live' event will be held to show support for staff at the South Holland Centre on Thursday afternoon.

The newly-formed Keep the South Holland Centre a-LIVE group says the gesture - which it stresses is not a protest and is inspired by the NHS 'Clap for Heroes' - will be outside the centre at 2pm, just before the first film of the summer cinema series.

Community groups fear that proposed cuts to roles at the venue will leave it unable to safely put on live theatre, music, dance, talks and functions in the future - although the council vows this won't be the case.

South Holland Centre, Spalding (49289919)
South Holland Centre, Spalding (49289919)

Karl Gernert, director of Spalding's Act II Theatre Company, wants the council to re-think job cuts.

He said: “We all want to have faith in the council’s pledge to reintroduce live events. But it seems clear it will be almost impossible to stage live music, theatre and functions safely with so small a staff.

"We’re calling on the council to make a clearer commitment to live entertainment at the centre, which almost certainly means rethinking the proposed staffing cuts."

Liz Hallissey, organiser of the Keep SHC a-LIVE Facebook group, added: “For 24 years the Centre has given fantastic live entertainment to tens of thousands of people, from folk and bluegrass music to community theatre and dance. It has also given thousands of locals – including children and young people – the priceless chance to perform in a professional theatre, developing valuable skills, making new friends and boosting their wellbeing.

“But staging live events and functions safely involves supervising up to 550 customers and hirers at a time. That requires specialist expertise and an appropriate level of trained staff, and it’s clear the council can’t deliver that with just six permanent employees.”

The groups will also invite South Holland District Council to receive a letter explaining their concerns in detail, signed by representatives from many of the organisations who have hired and used the centre in the past.

Among the groups adding their names to the letter so far are SADOS, St Nicolas Players, Act II Theatre Company, Spalding School of Dance, Tulip Events Management, South Holland Singers, Vibe Youth Choir, Endana School of Dance, rock band Zebra, Holbeach Film Company Limited and Mirinesse Singers.

You can find out more by searching ‘Keep SHC a-LIVE support group’ on Facebook.

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