EMMA Lewell-Buck is giving her vote of confidence to South Tyneside’s leading theatre venue.
The South Shields MP has put her backing behind the Customs House.
The politician has become a custodian of the theatre, after pledging to make regular donations to it every month.
And she’s hoping others will join her in signing up to support the venue in Mill Dam, South Shields.
She said: “I think when you look at the scale of cuts that the coalition Government are making, you find that it’s always services like the arts and culture that disappear the quickest or lose the most money.
“I’m really proud to be a Customs House custodian because I want to make sure that the Customs House is here for many years to come. I hope everyone else comes on board.
“It doesn’t cost that much, and it’s well worth it when you look at the things that the Customs House puts on.”
The MP met Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, to make her commitment official.
He said: “It’s a real vote of confidence for us, if you can get your local MP to say ‘you know what, I value what you do’, it’s a real fillip to all the staff and the community groups that we work with.
“As Emma was saying, all we’re looking for is £3 a month – less than 10p a day – to ensure that the Customs House is in safe hands with our custodians.
“I certainly think it helps to have someone of Emma’s status, in the community, to say that she values what we do, and that’s an indication to other people that it’s worth getting on board.
“We engage with about 200,000 people and we want to continue to do that. We simply can’t do that with constant cuts to our budget and we want to maintain the outreach work that we do in the community.”
Mrs Lewell-Buck added: “The Customs House is an important part of our culture.
“It’s always packed out and there’s always loads happening, and under Ray’s stewardship we’ve had national status.
“I always used to come down to see shows and things are no different now that I’m an MP.”
To find out more about becoming a custodian, pick up a leaflet in the theatre or to go www.customshouse.co.uk/custodian