`SHOW US MEDIA CITY CONTRACTS!'
"The Council shouldn't be spending on ornaments when it can't afford bread and butter services…" Salford City UNISON
"It just leaves a bitter feeling when you think about how much could have been achieved with as little as 0.1% of the Media City budget…" SCMP
Amidst cuts to public services and community projects, anger is growing in Salford at Council spending on prestige projects like MediaCityUK and the Salford City Stadium.
Public sector trade union, Salford City UNISON has now demanded to see Council contracts for Media City, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Salford City Stadium (which hosts its first Salford Reds game this weekend), to prove that the financial commitments running into millions cannot be renegotiated.
UNISON is furious that front line services, like the withdrawing of funding to Humphrey Booth and Craig Hall day care centres, are being hit (see here), while projects like the Council's £3million a year sponsorship of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra remain in place.
"We feel that while money is going to Media City and other prestige projects, these services should be supported" states Salford City UNISON secretary Steve North in a missive to members.
"On that note we have asked the Council for the contracts relating to Media City, the BBC Philharmonic, Salford Community Stadium and other prestige projects" he adds "We are being told that these contracts cannot be renegotiated but we want to be sure for ourselves before we are prepared to accept that. We are not anti-Media City or against any of the other large infrastructure projects that are in development, but we do feel that the Council shouldn't be spending on ornaments when it can't afford bread and butter services."
Meanwhile, Salford Community Media Partnership – a network of community media groups in the city which includes Salford Star, Salford Arts Theatre, Creative Industry in Salford, Ordsall Community Arts and Seedley and Langworthy Trust – has issued a statement following the revelation that only 16 Salford people got new jobs at the BBC's MediaCityUK base. Here its is in full…
"It was very disappointing to read about the lack of success Salford residents have had in getting jobs at BBC Media City, but not at all unexpected" the statement reads.
"We set up Salford Community Media Partnership (SCMP) almost five years ago now, because at the time, there was no obvious pathway for local people to get support in finding out about the media industry as a possible career, or to accumulate at least some of the necessary skills and knowledge to progress towards that aim.
We were hopeful at the start that by working together, member organisations could provide a really broad and exciting offer for local people to increase enthusiasm and community engagement in Media City, as well as providing a ready vehicle to help Media City/BBC to deliver that engagement.
Since that time SCMP has been able to provide an amazing amount in terms of courses and projects, films, magazines, and more; using very modest amounts of grant funding entirely unrelated to Media City.
Over the years, we have met all the right people, helped with the engagement strategy (now missing in action), kept our profile as high as possible, built up a strong track record of delivery, and even run seminars for the 'Top Bods' from the BBC & Media City, but despite all this effort, to date there have been no serious funding or contract opportunities to pitch in for, and it looks like the money that was around for community engagement has now gone.
It just leaves a bitter feeling when you think about how much could have been achieved with as little as 0.1% of the Media City budget which should have been at least £500k a year (depending on which figures believe) invested in directly benefitting local people in what are the very disadvantaged surrounding areas."
Now, both SCMP and Salford City UNISON are awaiting a response…
See previous Salford Star articles on MediaCityUK spending - click here and click here
And on Media City community engagement money - click here