Filed under: meetings | Tags: ace, arts, DCMS, DEFRA, England, funding, rural, volarts
I was in London on Monday to take part in the Arts Council England Rural Stakeholders meeting. This was the first of what will be a regular series of gatherings of cultural organisations with a particular interest in rural matters. Those around the table on Monday included representatives of the National Rural Touring Forum, the Rural Cultural Forum, Action with Communities in Rural England and the Rural Services Network, as well as civil servants from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The general feeling was that, while arts activity in rural areas is strong, rural local authorities are particularly challenged at the moment and support from local authorities is incredibly variable. Public transport is a key issue in rural communities and hidden deprivation is a massive problem. We talked about the opportunities provided by local action groups (LAGs) and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the growing importance of European funding. We discussed the rollout of rural broadband and the importance of volunteers in the rural cultural sector. We also talked about how Arts Council England should be working with the wider sector, not just its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).
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