The Strategic Partnerships Manager and the Strategic Client Manager for Culture and Leisure introduced the report to the Committee, which outlined the draft Culture Strategy for Peterborough. Members of the Committee were also advised that following consultation and incorporation of all comments, it was intended to share the final strategy with partners and Full Council in September 2014.
Key visions and priorities summarised within the report included:
· More people, more often – increasing participation in and enjoyment of cultural activities;
· Developing, retaining and attracting people with talent;
· Places to go and things to do – making the best use of our city spaces;
· Raising the profile of culture and increasing participation within the City; and
· Raising the profile of the City through culture and increase visitor numbers.
Observations and questions were raised around the following areas:
· Members commented regarding the minor references to Vivacity, the Council’s Culture contractor and that there seemed to be a focus on high-level as opposed to more universal activities such as the Peterborough Annual Beer Festival. The Strategic Client Manager for Culture and Leisure advised the Committee that the themes such as people and places were intended to capture a breadth and mixed level of events. The Strategy had been intended to give a breadth of diversity and a holistic approach by liaising with Vivacity to attract a wide range of activities in the City.
· Members sought clarification over why Vivacity had not been responsible for producing the Culture Strategy for Peterborough. The Strategic Partnerships Manager advised Members that the Culture Strategy was a Council owned document and that it held responsibility due to its management of the major policy framework. However, Vivacity had provided support to shape the content as they held the expertise in arts and culture. In addition, there would be an opportunity to explore the option of delegating the responsibility for monitoring the strategy in the future by Vivacity.
· Members sought clarification over whether there were opportunities to provide financial support for communities to hold lower-level cultural events? The Strategic Client Manager for Culture and Leisure advised Members that a new funding stream was due to be introduced and administered by Vivacity, namely Connective Culture. The £2k funds could be used towards providing support to a community or individual group event, or to organise a forum to combine funds to purchase bigger items such as a stage;
· Members sought clarification over what was being introduced to encourage different cultures participation in sports such as speedway? Members were advised that a separate visitor economy strategy was to encompass sports events and was due to be produced later in the year;
· Members commented on the proposition detailed within the report to merge groups such as the heritage steering group with the culture strategy steering group to form the ’Culture Peterborough’. Members were informed that there had been lots of disparate reporting by a wide range of culture committees and the aim had been to unify all groups, which was intended to also include involvement from the private sector groups;
· Members commented that the Broadway theatre should be included within the Culture Peterborough and that the Council should encourage the purchase of the premises to Vivacity. Members were advised that reference had been made regarding the Broadway theatre within the Culture Strategy and would be encouraged to join Culture Peterborough. The owners of the privately operated premises were currently evaluating their financial position;
· The Committee commented that the Culture Strategy should be a rolling document to allow for updates as and when required. The Strategic Partnerships Manager advised the Committee that the draft document had undertaken an extensive consultation process in order to obtain the view of Members, which had included its second visit to the Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee (SCSC). The Culture Strategy would be reviewed on an annual basis and the findings reported back to the SCSC alongside any other relevant committees and steering groups.
The Committee recommended that the Culture Strategy included the following:
· Make the reference to the importance of the Peterborough Beer Festival within the Culture Strategy clearer.
· Consideration in encouraging organisations to work together.
· Consideration of the inclusion of wording such as ‘Lots of People and One City’ into the Core Strategy priority 3: Places to go and things to do – making the best use of our city spaces.
· That the proposal for the Cultural Steering Group should include minority groups from other cultural backgrounds.
Members noted the report and the draft strategy, provided comments on the approach and content. In particular to whether the Committee:
· Supported the vision and priorities summarised within the report;
· Wished to make any further observations on the strategy in order to inform the next, final draft.
It was agreed that the progress reports as part of the Cabinet Member for City Centre Management, Culture and Tourism portfolio, would encompass an update on funding for individual groups and communities cultural events, when it is reported back to Committee.