End of the road for guitar class

A CRESWELL guitar teacher claims he has been unfairly forced out of his practice room after 12 years.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 23rd January 2012, 4:33 pm

Until recently, seasoned strummer Kingsley Wass, 58, of Duke Street, held guitar classes at Creswell Social Centre every Sunday.

But he was asked to leave, after 12 years, because the parish council said it was losing money on his sessions.

“I don’t make any money off the guitar club. My students’ fees goes toward the room hire which is only £12 per 90 minute session,” said Mr Wass.

“I don’t understand why they have suddenly turned round and said I can’t use the room after all these years.”

In a letter from the clerk of Elmton with Creswell Parish Council, Mr Wass was told a survey had been done into the council’s income and expenditure of hirings at the social centre.

The survey had apparently found the council was losing money on the Sunday morning booking held by the guitar club.

Mr Wass said: “I can’t see how this can be the case.”

“There have been paying groups who used the hall at the same time, like a dance group. And they often have christenings and other functions on a Sunday.”

“At the same time, the parish council have now started offering free sessions on some nights.” “It seems like a contradiction in terms to me.”

The council had offered that Mr Wass could hold his class mid-week, but he said this was not suitable for his students.

Mr Wass has taught hundreds of students over the years in the Social Centre, on Elmton Road and says he has received little support or encouragement from the council.

He said: “I have been offering a community service as a musician for 12 years.”

“I do it in my spare time because I love it. It’s open to everyone and I don’t make a penny from it.”

“If they can’t recognise that what I do is a benefit to the community, then it’s their loss,” he said.

Mr Wass said he had raised the issue at meetings of Elmton with Creswell Parish Council, but had not yet had a satisfactory answer.

“I want to see minutes of the meeting where the decision was taken to end my guitar session, because I want to know who authorised it,” he said.

“They should be supporting people like me. Music is very beneficial in so many ways - it can be therapeutic and people get a lot of enjoyment out of it.”

Mr Wass, a care worker, is CRB checked and has used his music skills to do youth work in the past.

He has been playing guitar for 40 years and has quite a collection of instruments.

Elmton with Creswell Parish Council declined to comment, other than to advise Mr Wass he could lodge an official complaint.

Mr Wass said his classes are now on hold until he finds a new venue.

“I just think people should know how my group has been treated,” he said.

“All we want is to be the status quo.”