Sunday, March 03, 2019

Save Lincolnshire Usher Gallery


Here's a message for all who think the Usher Gallery ought to remain an Art Gallery open to the public.

Hi everyone
It's been a while since we communicated to the full emailing list. We have been working away in the background and catching up with the sheer volume of work and communications generated. Great for the campaign, but sorry it's taken so long. And just to warn you - this is a long email!

UPDATE ON CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY
Just to let you all know what’s happening with the campaign at the moment and provide a summary of what’s happened so far.

WORKING TOGETHER
There was a meeting last week with representatives from the SLUG Campaign and many other groups and individuals to talk about coordinating activity and working more closely together in the campaign to save the Usher but also other heritage sites under threat, such as the windmills and the Drill Hall. It was from this meeting that the two working groups mentioned above (Communications and Alternatives) were set up. Once these groups get going we are expecting that we will be able to take on much more work and run a smoother campaign. Prior to that the bulk of the work of the SLUG campaign was being done by less than a handful of people trying to do this alongside jobs, family and other commitments.  With more people on board, we are hoping that we can ramp the campaign up more.

PUBLIC MEETING
As a priority, we are trying to arrange a public meeting. As I’m sure you will appreciate, this takes a bit of time to organise and we are currently trying to find a suitably sized venue for this. We are aiming for a date somewhere between 20 and 28 March, evening. As soon as we have more information we will share it with you. We will try to get representatives from the county council there (although there’s no guarantee they will choose to attend) and other key people/groups.

COMMUNICATIONS
We all need to continue to spread the word about the plans and asking members of the public to take part in the consultation, write to their councillors and MPs, sign the petition and join the campaign. Flyers about this are being printed and we will soon be asking for help in distributing them. Posters are being designed, to be printed and distributed as soon as we can arrange that. A small communications group has been set up to help coordinate this and other communications activities, including the public meeting and demonstrations. Further flyers will be printed soon with details of the public meeting, just as soon as we have secured a venue.

We have set up Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SLUGcampaign/ , Twitter https://twitter.com/SLUGcampaign  and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/slugcampaign/ accounts. If you use these social media and want to help promote the campaign, provide your comments about the proposals, etc please don’t forget to tag the campaign using @SLUGcampaign or #SLUGcampaign when doing so. We’ll continue to put out posts from the campaign accounts but there’s nothing to stop you mentioning the proposals and campaign in your own posts.
We are particularly concerned to reach people who don’t use social media regularly or are not online at all. Many of these people are unaware of the proposals, or how they can take part in the consultation if they don’t do it online. This is why we are mounting a leafletting and poster campaign – to try to reach people who might otherwise be excluded, as the official council communications about the consultation have been mainly online.

We have set up a website at www.slugcampaign.co.uk  If you want to sign up to the emailing list please do so from there using the contact form. Over the next week we will be adding more information and resources to the site, as we are aware there’s not much there at the moment. From the home page you can find links to the consultation https://bit.ly/2V5j6FT , petition https://bit.ly/2SAssNc  and social media (see above).

PRESS AND BROADCAST MEDIA
Jane Riley has been interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire a couple of times about the petition. Amanda Drury has been interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincs FM about the campaign. We have had an enquiry from BBC Look North, but no interview from them yet. We have sent press releases to a variety of local media so they are aware of the campaign, and have offered to speak with them further.

EXPLORING ALTERNATIVES
Rather than just oppose the plans, we are being proactive in coming forward with suggestions for ways the Usher Gallery can be saved as a fully functioning art gallery. We have a group of people working on generating ideas for alternative options. It will take some time to generate options, carry out research and draw up plans. So I doubt there’ll be much to report on this for several weeks.
Alongside this activity, we are writing to the council about concerns, with requests for clarification and for more information on certain aspects of their proposals. It can take quite a while to get a response, so please bear with us on that.

If you have any particular concerns about the consultation process, the proposals, council claims or statements, you are well within your rights to write to your councillors or Councillor Nick Worth yourself about these. It might add more weight to the campaign and show the council the sheer amount of public concern and opposition to the proposals if you do. You don’t need to use physical mail for this. An email will do. His postal address is:
Cllr Nick Worth, Executive Councillor for Culture and Emergency Services, Lincolnshire County Council, County Office, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL and his email address is cllrn.worth@lincolnshire.gov.uk

To find out the email for your local county councillor you can find it here http://lincolnshire.moderngov.co.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1

We continue to get in touch with key people and organisations who can help with the campaign.

Karen Lee MP for Lincoln has now made a public statement “I’d just like to make it clear, publicly, that I am opposed to the closure of the Usher Art Gallery. Whilst I appreciate that local councils are in difficult financial times, some things must be sacrosanct, and the future of Lincoln’s Usher Art Gallery is one of those things.
As Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, I am working cross-party with Lord Patrick Cormack to ensure the future of the gallery and will keep my constituents updated as to our progress on this. The gallery was a gift to the people of Lincoln, and it must remain so.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We are relying on everyone who supports the campaign to continue to spread the word about the proposals, the consultation process https://bit.ly/2V5j6FT  and the petition https://bit.ly/2SAssNc , as well as encouraging people to write directly to their councillors and MPs about their views. This website is useful for finding who these are and how to contact them https://www.writetothem.com/ .
Don't forget to take part in the consultation, sign the petition and write to your representatives yourself, when you are ready to do so.
If you use social media and see media sites covering the story (e.g. The Lincolnite) and want to share your opinion, please do. We try to keep an eye on these stories and add our responses, but the more people that do as individuals, the better for the campaign. If you oppose the proposals, this is YOUR campaign and we are relying on as many people as possible to put pressure on the council to stop this happening. The SLUG campaign is just one voice amongst many and all our voices are needed.

I think that’s all for now.  We’ll continue to communicate more information and calls for help once we have it.
Regards
Fiona Hodges
SLUG Campaign
Tel: 07762 096785

www.slugcampaign.co.uk
Facebook: @SLUGcampaign   https://www.facebook.com/SLUGcampaign/
Instagram: slugcampaign   https://www.instagram.com/slugcampaign/
Twitter: @SLUGcampaign
              
                             


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