I can’t make up stuff like this. From the Telegraph, “Children’s art club closed as ‘too middle class’ “,
The Paint Pots Arts Club, in Hackney, London, will have its funding withdrawn at the end of the month as council officials said their monitoring had found that it was not reaching families with the most difficult needs.
The club is funded by one of the Government’s flagship Sure Start centres which are aimed at supporting new parents and offer health services, childcare and early learning and employment advice.
Mrs Ritches [the director of Paint Pots Arts Club] said: “Middle class mothers struggle with work, sleep deprivation, and post natal depression just like any other mother. But the Learning Trust officials concluded that 68 per cent of all users were white. I told them just because they are white does not mean they are middle-class. But they said you could work out their properties’ value from their postcodes.”
A letter to Mrs Ritches from officials said: “Based on our monitoring information, the Arts Club is not reaching the families who have the most difficult needs. Accordingly I have to advise you that the contract for the Arts Club will end on March 31st.”
The article goes on to explain that instead of helping the needy via art programs, more direct assistance is going to be used. I am of the opinion that if subsidy is ever to be used, cash subsidy is usually the best idea if the goal is to help individuals maintain their livelihood in a way they see fit, since it allows recipients to put the cash to its most urgent need, which may or may not be art classes for their children. It seems the idea to start the art club in the first place was misguided. But I don’t think governments are in the habit of doing feasibility tests to assess market demand for a target demographic prior to the inception of their programs. I think they like the “build it and see what happens” approach, which often ends in waste and disappointment.
Perhaps a feasibility test would have shown lower income families cannot even allocate the time or resources to sending their children to free art classes, since it could be perceived as setting an expectation of continued education (resources used) at home or in the future when there is no guarantee funding for such programs will be maintained – as evidenced by this bizarre charade with The Paint Pots Arts Club.