News

Magpies call for help

RUNNING ON EMPTY: Betty Stone, 86, is seeking sponsors for the Combined Churches Magpie indigenous music program.
RUNNING ON EMPTY: Betty Stone, 86, is seeking sponsors for the Combined Churches Magpie indigenous music program.

A CLASSICAL music program for young indigenous students is under threat after the Clarence Valley Council discontinued funding last year.

The last thing 86-year-old Betty Stone wants to do is knock on doors in the search for sponsors to keep the Combined Churches Magpie music program running.

But that is exactly what she has to do now that funding requests to various sources, including the council, have been unsuccessful.

The program aims to put indigenous students from the age of 10 through a five-year classical training program that will then allow them to play confidently and be able to take up teaching music to other indigenous kids.

"By helping one student we could end up helping many, many more to learn and enjoy music," Ms Stone said.

The program has had four students for the past two years, but faces a funding crisis.

The first year was funded by Bendigo Bank and then the council funded it for six months but failed to renew funding after June last year.

The Magpies have been funding themselves since then but this can't last," said Ms Stone, the group's president.

"People don't understand the good that comes from music; it is easier to get funding for sports."

The council's acting deputy general manager David Morrison said the council gave Ms Stone's request for funding due regard, but because its benefits essentially flowed to just a few people and didn't have a broader benefit, the request was turned down.

The council was bound to the criteria attached to funding programs, he said.

Ms Stone has made several other grant requests.

If these fail, she is hoping local businesses will sponsor the program worth $4000 per year. She is looking for eight organisations to put up $500 each she said.

"If grant applications do come through they can get their money back," she said.

The Combined Churched Magpie group was formed about 25 years ago to aid reconciliation and has members from across the Clarence Valley.

Ms Stone's Magpies, based at the Saint Matthews Anglican Church in South Grafton, is now the only group left. The music program is affiliated with the New South Wales reconciliation council.

Topics:  magpies




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Asbestos discovered at McLachlan Park

ASBESTOS: Sheeting has been put up around McLachlan Park as asbestos is being removed.

Work temporarily halted after asbestos was discovered in soil.

Uncertain optimism over commercial fishing changes

Phil Hilliard from the Ballina Fishermen's Co-operative is happy dredging is about to begin at Fishery Creek and the trawler harbour.

North Coast fishers still trying to digest sweeping rule changes

Want a free Samsung tablet? We're giving them away

Get your hands on this baby totally free when you subscribe to our digital subscription offer.

YOU don't want to miss out on this ripper deal.

Latest deals and offers

Beyonce is better than Beethoven according to your dog

Sony research shows that dogs prefer Top 40 over classical.

Research commissioned by Sony shows that dogs like Top 40 more than classical.

Kim Sheehy's battle on The Voice

Listen to the audio as Kim Sheehy wins her battle against Maxon singing Goodbye...

Action4Clarence Candlelight Vigil

Action4Clarence member Hayley Roberts talks about the candlelight vigil attended by...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest