Cultural Playing Field


Developing an action plan for the voluntary arts in England by Robin Simpson
August 7, 2008, 2:25 pm
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On Wednesday I was in London to meet David Brownlee and Meli Hatzihrysidis at Arts Council England to discuss the first draft of ACE’s action plan for the voluntary arts sector. At the joint VAE/ACE/DCMS ‘Our Creative talent’ conference at The Barbican on 2 July, ACE Chief Executive Alan Davey committed ACE to working with VAN to develop a plan which would respond to the findings of the ‘Our Creative Talent’ research. The first draft of this plan meticulously draws out the key needs of the sector identified in the research report. At Wednesday’s meeting we began to prioritise these needs, to identify potential programmes of support and to agree which of us would be responsible for leading the work in each area. There is still much to do but it looks like we are moving towards some formal mechanisms for regular consultation and strategic involvement of the voluntary arts by ACE and some specific programes of capacity building for the sector. The second draft of the action plan should be ready by September when voluntary arts umbrella bodies and other relevant organisations will be consulted in detail. It is very exciting to see this genuine and serious commitment by ACE to address the needs of the voluntary arts.

Robin Simpson.



2012 Olympics volunteering legacy by Robin Simpson
August 1, 2008, 1:09 pm
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I was London on Wednesday for a meeting about the 2012 Olympics volunteering legacy. This was a workshop convened by the Office of the Third Sector and YouthNet to look at how the 2012 Olympics can be used to increase civic participation. Amongst the 20 participants there were officers from three Government departments (the Office of the Third Sector (Cabinet Office), Government Olympic Executive (DCMS) and DCSF) and representatives from Volunteering England, v, Timebank, Sport England, CCPR and others. I was the only person from an arts or cultural organisation but I was pleased to find universal agreement that we should be looking not just at ‘formal volunteering’ but also at participation in sports, arts and crafts. Some exciting possibilities started to emerge about how the 2012 Olympics might be used as a hook to drive up participation and create a more joined-up approach to participation: that would be a wonderful legacy.

Robin Simpson.