South West Wales

Swansea Museum challenged to raise own funds after cuts

Swansea Museum

Swansea Museum needs to operate more commercially if it wants to plug the gap created by budget cuts, the city's council leader has said.

The museum's £522,000 budget is £76,000 less than two years ago as the authority attempts to make savings.

But Rob Stewart said, while the museum is not facing closure, more needs to be done to raise its own funds.

The Federation of Welsh Museums said it was concerned the museum needed more time to be able to generate income.

Mr Stewart said: "It's helping to commercialise them, helping them to cover their own costs - they don't have a coffee shop.

"It's looking at the commercial opportunities like that to replace some of the money that was coming from the taxpayer."

Mr Stewart added there was also an opportunity to capitalise on the £500m city centre regeneration.

Building work could start towards the end of the year with a 3,000-seat arena forming part of the first phase and it will be able to host a variety of concerts and events.

It will be built on one side of the leisure centre, with the museum on the other side, a short walk away.

Image copyright Swansea council
Image caption The museum and proposed new arena are in close proximity to each other

"The question to the museum is how can you capitalise on the establishment of the arena around the corner?" said Mr Stewart.

"The challenge is there. How can you make sure you are successful as part of it?"

The Federation of Welsh Museums recognised the difficult position local authorities were in but warned cuts by councils across the country were being made too quickly.

A spokeswoman said: "It is incredibly difficult in most cases to be able to immediately income-generate the amounts needed to off-set the savings targets given.

"And often investment is needed first, in order to then be able to generate income from commercial activities such as cafes, shops, corporate hire.

"Swansea Museum is a fantastic example of a community-centred museum, and our concern is that it does not have the time it needs to build its markets and ability to income generate to the levels it needs and, therefore, it is likely that its public programming, community outreach and staffing levels will be reduced."

She said the federation would like to see "more support and time given to the museum" to enable it to generate income successfully.

A Swansea council spokesman added the authority expects the museum's overall funding to increase through grants as well as the commercial opportunities.

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