Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Orchestra: Belfast City Council has offered £100k to help it out of its financial problems

By Claire Williamson

The under-threat Ulster Orchestra has been granted £100,000 by Belfast City Council to help it out of its financial problems.

The offer is conditional on other funders also contributing to the orchestra's £500,000 shortfall.

The orchestra, which costs around £4.6m a year to run, had appealed for £500,000 from Belfast City Council to help keep it a float.

It has also asked for the free rental of the Ulster Hall for the next five years, which would save it £160,000 a year.

The agreement came after a meeting of the Belfast City Council Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.. Previously they had asked the orchestra to provide them with a detailed business plan.

In a statement a council spokeswoman said: “The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee has agreed to provide funding of £100k to the Ulster Orchestra towards its shortfall in running costs in the current financial year.

“The money is conditional on other funders contributing towards the total funding requirement in the current year of £500k and also on assurances as to how the Ulster Orchestra will address its forecasted shortfall of £850k next year.  

“The decision to provide the £100k conditional funding is subject to ratification at the council’s monthly meeting on 1 December.”

At the meeting on Friday the committee heard from the orchestra's management about the new business plan that is being negotiated.

A host of musical elite backed a campaign to save the Ulster Orchestra from closure, including world renowned pianist Barry Douglas and virtuoso flautist Sir James Galway.

The Save the Ulster Orchestra campaign has been gathering momentum over the past months and on Saturday 43 musicians staged a flash mob in St George's market.

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