The Co-operative Funeralcare Band is facing an uncertain future as the Co-op Group, which sponsors it, has announced it is withdrawing funding and asking it vacate its current rehearsal facility in Newhouse in North Lanarkshire with immediate effect.
The band, which has been the Champion Band of Great Britain twice, and is Scotland’s most successful contesting outfit, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Former Band chair, Ronnie Tennant, told brass band website 4BarsRest: “The band has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Co-op, but it’s become increasingly complex over the last few years as significant changes have occurred within their business and with the running of the band.”
Mr Tennant believes it is “of vital importance that we try to maintain a link that has given the band a worldwide identity and helped provide the Co-op with such a positive link to the community”.
The Group’s chief executive, Steve Murrells, told the band that he did not “underestimate the success of the band, both musically and in creating opportunities for young Scottish musicians”, and that he did not “uphold this decision lightly”.
However, he also reiterated that the Co-op was, “…in the process of re-assessing our entire expense base, from bottom up. This is the only way we will establish a model of operating that ensures that our Co-op is sustainable and we can continue to invest in both our colleagues and the communities in which we operate.”
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