IAN HART Worthing Theatres and social services

THE future of the managment of Worthing’s theatres has intensified with the publication of the advertisment in The Stage.

The ad, inviting expressions of interest to operate our three venues, has prompted a request from High Holborn-based HQ Theatres to have a meeting with Worthing Borough Council head of entertainment and cultural services John Thorpe to discuss the matter further.

While all competition is healthy, will a rival bid up against the newly formed Worthing Theatres Trust play into the hands of the people who want rid of our local theatres?

There is no doubt HQ have a track record in their chosen field, but would they have the local expertise to take all three theatre venues forward?

Clearly, all is not well, but is that more to do with historicial incompetence rather than a specific venue being unsustainable? Being an outsider looking in at the balance sheet and the first thing most people would probably do is turn the lights off and lock the doors at the Assembly Hall and keep it that way.

Someone locally clearly wants theatres shut and land redeveloped, with council coffers looking healthier as a result, which would be yet another sorry episode in the town’s history.

Helped by a theatre company from afar, with no local conscience, would give the whole scheme some kind of credibility, which is why the Worthing Theatres Trust is, in my opinion, the only viable way forward, as by the very nature of the people involved, closures and re-development would not be an option.

THERE is no doubt that anyone who chooses to work in the social services sector is a special kind of person.

The work is clearly hard and can be stressful, but by the very nature of the fact that people, both young and old, are being helped to develop and sometimes change their lives must make the job very rewarding.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t work out, and in the case of “Baby P” serious errors were made which resulted in the death of a little boy.

In those circumstances someone has to be made accountable, if only to stop it happening to anybody else.

Yet how crazy is the system that when this does happen, the person can dig their heels in and walk away with a payoff that some lottery winners would be envious of? I’m not saying that despite being removed from her post ex-Haringey head of care Sharon Shoesmith shouldn’t have received monies owed to her, but her reported £2.5million pay-off, which could rise to £4million if the government appeal is ultimately lost, is nothing short of disgusting, and once again highlights what a crazy politically correct world we live. Hopefully, commonsense will eventually win the day along with the resurgence of Ms Shoesmith’s consience.