Welwyn Garden City choir in dispute with council over fundraiser

A CHOIR holding a charity concert to celebrate its 30th anniversary fear much of its revenue will be spent paying for a council’s “prohibitive” venue costs, instead of going to a worthy cause.

WGC-based Singing for Pleasure wants to mark the special occasion by singing in the town where it all began.

But, after choosing Campus West Theatre, members are worried the price of hire will impact on proceeds raised for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

The not-for-profit group performs six to eight concerts every year to raise money for charity, but the latest fundraising effort is set to cost �824 after VAT.

Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Campus West venue has wavied its box office fee but, even if the 300-seater theatre sells out, more than a third of ticket sales will be spent on covering hire.

Glynis Rogers, who set up Singing for Pleasure with husband Cliff in 1980, said: “I know it is a business and if they want to charge professional companies that amount then that’s fine, but we’re local people raising funds for charities – support for this should start at home.

“It’s very hard to advertise in this town and to sell tickets is becoming increasingly difficult – now we have got to make �824 before Great Ormond Street benefits.

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The choir’s musical director added: “It’s our 30th year and we want to celebrate it in our own town, but the cost involved makes it prohibitive.”

On the council’s website it states that ‘discounts are available for charities’ and the choir did receive a significant discount for a similar fundraiser in September 2008 when the theatre was hired for �175.50.

A council spokesman said: “Singing for Pleasure was given the option of hiring the theatre at the standard rate, with the usual fee for using Campus West’s box office waived.

“The fee is normally 10 per cent of the value of tickets sold and covers the cost of producing and selling the tickets through the box office and online, as well as credit card fees and staff costs.

“Campus West charges a flat rate for hiring the theatre to cover the costs attached to its use. They have since booked the Campus West Theatre.”

Tickets for the show on Saturday, July 3, are priced at �5 for children and �7 for adults and can be bought at the Campus West box office.

Alternatively call Glynis Rogers on 01707 377543.

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