An overview of the Culture Recovery Fund, and a request for feedback and suggestions from the Committee surrounding priorities for future Service Activity Plans
Members were directed to slides that had been provided ahead of the meeting. In his presentation to the Committee, the Head of Arts updated members that to date £230,000 of Culture Recovery funding had been provided by the Government in response to a bid made by SKDC. The funding received was to protect jobs, particularly assisting freelancers and restart performances over a six-month period from October 2020. The Head of Arts confirmed he was holding ongoing discussions with the arts community focussing on job creation for the freelance sector.
Stewarding and safety measures have had to be considered when delivering past and future phases of work. Social distance measures in indoor venues were being investigated and reviewed for a continued phased reopening of venues.
Funding was also based on delivering activities and redelivery of activities when safe to do so, and took into account actions such as redeployment of staff to try to support the wider work of the council. Planned events for November had been suspended; once Covid-19 guidance was known for December it was hoped to continue some activities including pay to view options that were being explored. Refurbishment work to venues would be reported back when progress has been made.
Members congratulated the Head of Arts and his Team for their handling of the pandemic crisis. They also observed the low level of funding that had been supplied from government, and were encouraged to attend the next meeting of the SK Creative Artists’ Network, with future dates to be sent to Members by the Head of Arts and to extend invitations to include representatives from the visitor economy. The network is an informal forum for individuals and organisations within South Kesteven’s creative/cultural sector, brought together every 8-10 weeks in order to share their projects, aspirations and challenges, thereby informing future strategic priorities and initiatives.
· The Chairman to liaise with the Head of Arts regarding inviting a representative from Arts Pop Up, a non-profit contemporary arts organisation, to attend a future meeting of the Committee
· The Head of Arts to circulate to members invitations to future meetings of SK Creative Artists’ Network and to investigate extending invitations to include representatives from the visitor economy
Council Services Action Plan
The Council action plan links to identified KPIs that will be monitored by the Committee. Proposed Cultural Services Activity Plans activities had been identified as part of the report on the Cultural Strategy.The Committee was invited to identify priority items to pursue as a service and in particular any areas relating to the Cultural Services’ KPIs identified in the previous item.
A cultural creative Community Interest Company was being explored to build on potential investment from the private sector and other external bodies where funding is not generally available to the Council. It is intended that the Council will identify individuals and organisations to work with in partnership in order to bring larger amounts of grant funding to the district.
In response to concerns over accountability of a Community Interest Company, the Head of Arts explained that the structure was not known at present. However, any future partner organisation would be community focussed rather than specific to a particular discipline or geographic area, with a broad selection of representatives from the creative sector included in its organisational structure.
Skills training and professional development
The Cultural Strategy had identified the importance of a strong, cohesive and inclusive cultural service, delivered through appropriate skills and resources. Developing links with visitor economy colleagues had been identified as an area for increased participation and engagement, with work continuing.
The concept of working in tandem with the community and the inclusion of the visitor economy with the culture sector was welcomed by Members.
Members were requested by the Chairman to inform her or the Head of Arts of any other areas for priority or additions to the future programme as well as suggested Committee priorities.