Statement by Dick Penny (updated 9 Nov)

Read the full statement from Watershed's Managing Director Dick Penny in response to Cllr Eddy: "I would like to be very clear that Watershed has never been censured by the Charity Commission."

Dick Penny, Watershed Managing Director says;

"It has been brought to my attention that Councillor Richard Eddy, a senior member of Bristol City Council has issued a press release saying 'The latest Charity Commission censure of the Watershed comes after concerns over many years about the political-balance of programming at the arts centre and, in particular, the persistent anti-Israel bias.'

I would like to be very clear that Watershed has never, I repeat never, been censured by the Charity Commission.

Watershed is extremely concerned about the implications of this statement. Our role is to showcase contemporary culture in all its diversity without political bias of any kind.”

Further to the complaint being made public the Charity Commission have confirmed that there has been no censure of Watershed and that it has not become political. We have also been given permission to release into the public domain the letter dated 7 August from the Charity Commission to Watershed. This letter sets out the advice of the Charity Commission to Watershed in response to the complaint.

The full statement of 4 November, together with an additional statement made today (9 November) and the letter from the Charity Commission dated 7 August are available here:


We have been planning a public event to discuss the complex issues raised by the letter of complaint. This event is planned for March 2016 as part of a Festival of Ideas programme on Liberty and Freedom. We decided to allow a decent time gap between the original complaint and a public debate to create some distance and perspective. The event will be publicised through our normal channels nearer to the time. It will be one event among over 3,000 events at Watershed each year working with a wide range of organisations seeking to engage with the diversity of world culture.

For more information please contact Catrin John, Marketing Manager, at / 0117 927 6444.