For the past five years, Link Academy CIC have been nurturing and educating the rich music scene within our city, but their future is now uncertain.
The not for profit Academy provides rehearsal space, music education and also production facilities with its fully equipped digital recording studio however news has emerged that they are now under threat due to a backdated rates bill amounting to £11,000.
As they are not a recognised charity, the group has had to apply for a re-evaluation and exception in business rates from Land and Property Services and after lengthy discussions and “little movement” from the department, the Academy have now been granted an exemption for future operation, and in doing so have become the first Community interest company to receive an exemption in Northern Ireland. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that LPS will not backdate the exemption and are ordering the group to pay for the year 2012 and partially of 2013 (City of Culture Years), which amounts to £11,000.
The group have tried to negotiate a repayment deal but the Land and property services will only go into a short-term repayment deal which Link Academy states is impossible to achieve. As a community interest company, the Academy are well within their rights to pay their directors, however this has not been the case. They actually inserted a clause to their articles of association in order to prevent directors from collecting remunerations from the company, and as such have been working voluntarily for the past five years to sustain the Artistic hub and Space and all accounts to Company House submitted annually show that no directors collected remunerations since their incorporation.
Link Academy CIC now need your help. They have set up an online petition for you to show your appreciation for the great work that the do in helping and nurturing young musical talent, not only from the city, but the entire North West region. If you could take one minute and log on to: Click Here the group would very much appreciate your support.