On Wednesday afternoon I met Leonie Sakey at Arts Council England for a catch-up on the Cultural Olympiad. Following the 11 March launch of the application process for groups wishing to have their projects included in the Olympiad, there has been a slow start with plenty of enquiries but few actual submissions. LOCOG is looking again at its communications and thinking about engaging an agency to help get its messages out. Meanwhile I told Leonie that Ginny has been working on the second VAN ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Briefing which will spell out exactly how voluntary arts groups can get involved in the Cultural Olympiad. This should be available by the end of April. Leonie commented on how helpful our first Briefing had been in simplifying and clarifying the mysteries of the Olympiad and said she had used it herself on many occasions. She emphasised that very few organisations were being endorsed by LOCOG to issue information about the Olympiad and, although LOCOG was not able formally to make VAN an official Olympic partner, we were as close as anyone to such a position. I raised again the idea of a small grants fund to encourage voluntary arts groups to develop projects for the Olympiad and Leonie agreed there was a need for this but could not see where the funding might come from.
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