Fenland charity angry at council for lack of answers about grant rejection

11:43 23 January 2013

Fenland Poet Laureate Elaine Ewart with Atelier East

Fenland Poet Laureate Elaine Ewart with Atelier East's Karen Harvey

Archant

THE head of a Fenland community arts group is angry that she has not been told why their grant application, which received a glowing assessment, was rejected five months ago.

Atelier East’s application scored 80 per cent and officers recommended funding but Fenland District Council dismissed their claim.

Karen Harvey, who runs Atelier East, wrote to the council in August to ask for an explanation but no answers have been forthcoming.

She said: “I’m still waiting for an answer to the original complaint. They have not actually given any feedback.

“We have been marked really highly and councillors have said the money is still there but we can’t have it.

“Atelier East exists solely to make more creative things happen in the area, for the good of the people here.

“Fenland District Council should be supporting us, but from where I’m standing there seems to be no thought or consideration for the communities they are supposed to be working for.”

Atelier East raises young people’s aspirations and skills by offering internships and work experience.

They have founded the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards, Fenland Photographer of the Year, Young Curators Forum and the annual Atelier East Summer Exhibition

The group has won the Clore Poetry and Literature Award and the Pride in Fenland Award.

They have also been finalists in the 4 Children Awards and the National Children’s Stars award.

Ms Harvey is dismayed at the council’s lack of support for the universally acclaimed Fenland Poet Laureate.

She said: “Last year’s edition received coverage worldwide but the council decided against supporting it this year.

“If they supported cultural events like these they would see the benefit with increased tourism to the town.

“Maybe people would stop making fun of Fenlanders for supposedly being stupid and unable to write.”

A Fenland District Council expressed regret at the situation.

He said: “We’re very sorry that we haven’t been able to support Atelier East this time.

“We received a huge number of applications for funding and we cannot grant every one.

“Given the tough financial situation, Members had to make some very difficult choices; unfortunately Atelier East were one of a number of groups to miss out.

“We are currently engaged in ongoing correspondence with Ms Harvey regarding her complaint.”

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