Cultural Playing Field


Keeping in touch with the Office of the Third Sector by Robin Simpson
February 13, 2009, 3:46 pm
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On Tuesday I was inside Admiralty Arch for my regular update meeting with John Knights and Sophie Chapman of the Office of the Third Sector. OTS has now moved to join other parts of the Cabinet Office in Admiralty Arch – though John says he still hasn’t got used to working in a building that people outside are taking photos of! We talked about progress on the proposed online participation portal: funding has now been secured from the OTS Olympics Volunteering Legacy budget and work will be starting soon. We agreed to convene a second joint meeting with DIUS, DCMS and Arts Council England to discuss how the portal will link to the proposed informal learning portal and the ACE national participation campaign website.

Robin Simpson.



Planning the World Shakespeare Festival by Robin Simpson
February 13, 2009, 3:45 pm
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On Monday Reemer and I were at the Covent Garden office of the Royal Shakespeare Company to talk about the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival. We met staff from the RSC’s education, marketing and movement departments and had a very exciting discussion about the potential involvement of the voluntary arts sector. The RSC’s three visions for the festival are: to celebrate internationalism; to focus on young people; and to re-engage with the amateur arts. They were keen to stress that they want to involve music, crafts, visual arts and other artforms as well as amateur theatre. We emphasised the need to involve all the relevant national voluntary arts umbrella bodies in helping to plan the festival. To achieve this we agreed that the RSC will host a major voluntary arts consultative meeting in Stratford – probably in October 2009. More details soon … Robin Simpson.



Discussing the Olympic volunteering legacy by Robin Simpson
February 6, 2009, 2:39 pm
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Today I have been in London to attend a Volunteering England/LOCOG seminar on the Olympics Volunteering Programme. Hosted by Volunteering England this event involved representatives of a wide range of organisations including LOCOG, V, Volunteer Development Agency (Northern Ireland), WCVA, the Local Government Association, Office of the Third Sector, Department for Children, Schools and Families, YouthNet, Sport England, the Media Trust and the Government Olympic Executive. Jean Tomlin from LOCOG explained the detailed plans for the games-time volunteering programme. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the largest peace-time mobilisation of people ever seen in the UK. There will be around 70,000 official games-time volunteers, of whom only around 35,000 will be general roles not requiring specialist skills – and already more than 240,000 people have registered an interest in volunteering. John Knights from OTS and Alan Bucknell from GOE then talked about plans for a volunteering legacy – looking to ensure that as many people inspired to volunteer by London 2012 as possible are helped to find opportunities to get involved in their local communities. After a host of other speakers and much discussion we concluded that the next step must be to clarify exactly what the volunteering legacy hopes to achieve (what would success look like?) and to explain how the current myriad of ideas and initiatives might fit together – confirming in particular who interested organisations should contact.

Robin Simpson.