A Cultural Strategy for Shropshire by Levone


									A Cultural Strategy for Shropshire What it is and why it’s important. Government expects local councils to take the lead on producing a local Cultural Strategy. The aim is ‘to promote the cultural wellbeing of the area’. In Shropshire the County Council has led the process with support from all 5 Borough or District Councils. Organisations and people from all walks of life have been consulted and involved in drafting this strategy document. What is ‘culture’? We have deliberately kept the definition of culture broad. It’s important that the strategy isn’t restricted by assumptions or traditional service boundaries. We have taken culture to mean the things people do for leisure, pleasure, pride and fulfilment. These could include: archaeology archives arts countryside crafts design fashion gardens and gardening going to the cinema heritage just going out libraries media museums music play reading shopping sports tourism

Why culture matters. Culture clearly matters, since it’s all about the things we want to do and care about. In our consultations Shropshire people told us what culture meant to them - it’s about quality of life; values, beliefs and traditions; our sense of community and belonging, as well as an expression of individuality. The role of culture and heritage in education, community regeneration, health and economic development makes it all the more important to produce the strategy. Why this strategy matters. This Cultural Strategy for Shropshire is the first time we’ve tried to pull together people’s views and expectations about local cultural life. The strategy will help us:     Be clear about people’s needs and priorities. Work together on the things that really matter Raise awareness of the importance of Shropshire’s culture and heritage. Ensure culture’s place isn’t overlooked in major policies and developments.

Local authority context Shropshire has a County Council and 5 District Councils. There are also 142 Town and Parish Councils in New Shropshire with a co-ordinating body, the Shropshire Association for Local Councils.

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Local authorities at the Countywide and District level are required to prepare a community strategy to promote the economic, environmental and social well-being of their areas. The Community Plan for Shropshire provides the overall 10 year strategic framework for the County. It was published in the summer of 2002. The action areas are based around 4 ‘pillars’ or themes: Supporting inclusive communities Promoting lifelong learning Improving the environment Stimulating a thriving economy The Cultural Strategy for Shropshire has been developed to complement the Community Plan using the same 4 headline themes. The Cultural Strategy is deliberately wide ranging and therefore refers to and influences other major strategies and initiatives. It also links into local strategies developed by the five District Councils. The broad picture of life in Shropshire: Shropshire is an inland county of beautiful and varied scenery, landscapes and market towns. Lying in the west of the West Midlands, it forms part of the border with Wales. Other neighbours include Staffordshire, Cheshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. People Shropshire has a relatively small population of some 283,300 residents. Over half of these people live in the main settlements, which cover only 2% of the county’s land area. Another third of the population live in villages, hamlets and rural settlements. The remainder occupy the most isolated and sparsely populated rural areas. There is a relatively high concentration of people in older age groups, and the population is ageing. 99.3% of Shropshire’s population are classified as ‘white’ in 1991 census figures. Life expectancy at birth in Shropshire is higher than the national level. Standards of education and learning are very high in Shropshire at both primary level and for secondary school leavers. Place Shropshire is predominantly rural, with varied landscapes including uplands, hills, moorland, meres and mosses, wetlands, woods and parklands. The South Shropshire Hills are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Agriculture remains the predominant land use in Shropshire, amounting to 82% of the total land area. Between 1991 and 2001 the largest single demand for land was for new housing, accounting for 40% of land developed. Overall levels of satisfaction with Shropshire as a place to live are very high. Shropshire has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Overall, crime rates have fallen and the trend indicates that this will continue. Crime and disorder tends to be concentrated in the market towns and urban centres. The fear of crime amongst Shropshire residents is high compared to the actual figures and the statistical risk of being a victim of crime.

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Transport Shropshire’s road and train networks connect the county to its neighbours and the rest of the country through the motorway and railway systems. There are several major airports within about two hours of Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury has bus networks which connect the main settlements during the day. Many villages still do not have a daily bus service and evening services are not offered in many parts of the county. Parts of the River Severn and the Shropshire Union Canal are used for commercial and recreational use and there are many thousands of public footpaths, walking routes, bridleways and cycle ways. 1 in 8 people do not have a car or van. Whilst the majority of people do not have problems accessing services, there are pockets of rural isolation and deprivation. 48 of the county’s 111 wards fall into the worst 10% in England for geographical access to services. Economy There is a limited range of job opportunities, often with relatively low skill requirements, which are consequently low paid. The unemployment rate of 2.4% is low compared to many other areas, but there is an over-dependence on part-time seasonal work and self employment. Restricted access to childcare facilities and transport also limit job opportunities. Shropshire is a relatively affluent and prosperous county, above average for many of the economic indicators. However, there are pockets of the county where the population is poorer than the rest of Shropshire with below national averages. It is estimated that about 23% of children in Shropshire are living in poverty. 8 wards in Shropshire fall within the most deprived 25% nationally. Provision of cultural services and activities Local authorities provide many of the county’s cultural venues and activities. In addition to the libraries, leisure centres, visitors centres, museums and galleries, countryside sites, education and learning centres, local authorities support many other activities, either directly with grant support, or with other resources and expertise. ‘Private sector’ facilities range across pubs, clubs, art shops and galleries, professional spectator sport venues, outdoor activity centres, cycle hire, canal boat hire, golf clubs, touring music and performance, crafts and antique fairs, workshops. The list could go on. The community and voluntary sector covers a broad scope of interests. There are groups running independent museum and galleries, arts association, sports unions and a wide spectrum of groups of volunteers who come together to organise events, help out at the bar at village hall concerts, run stalls at their local fete or school fair. Much of the cultural ‘product’ of this sector locally is of a very high quality. Some of the most significant providers of cultural facilities in Shropshire do not fall easily into any of the above categories. The National Trust, English Heritage and Shropshire Wildlife Trust are custodians of some of Shropshire’s finest heritage sites and landscapes, fine houses, gardens. Many others are privately owned. In other words, cultural providers are as many and varied as local culture is itself.

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Snapshot of cultural life in Shropshire.
What’s special about Shropshire? Over the past two years we’ve been asking people what they feel is special about Shropshire and the things about its cultural life that most matter. Most people felt that it’s the ‘whole package’ that adds up to make Shropshire a special place - the landscape, heritage, people and the pace and quality of life. We especially value the quality and variety of our surroundings - beautiful countryside, attractive towns and villages, fascinating archaeology, history, geology and architecture. Many people also mentioned that local people, past and present, help make Shropshire special - reflected in local folklore, traditions, skills and creativity. Shropshire is a big county so it’s not surprising that the most distinctive thing about it is probably its diversity - the landscape, towns and people’s accents, employment and traditions all vary greatly across the area. Landscape and heritage. Since landscape and heritage seemed to be highly valued by Shropshire people, we also asked which aspects of the national and built environment made Shropshire special. People referred to the county’s heritage, geology and archaeology, especially its long history as a border county and its role as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. The historic market towns, the River Severn and canals were also mentioned. So were agriculture and rural life and the drama and passion of people’s lives through the centuries. Young People The Cultural Strategy process involved a lot of research and also drew upon research undertaken by others. Although the findings are informed by extensive consultation and we’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible, we do wonder if these findings sufficiently reflect the thoughts and ideas of Shropshire’s young people. We’ll be doing further work during the life of the Strategy to address this. Shropshire’s culture - peoples aspirations and needs. Taking the four ‘pillars’ of the Shropshire Community Plan as the framework, we analysed our research and consultation findings about what culture means to people and their priorities for action.

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Role of Culture Culture is central to our sense of community and belonging. Community spirit and enterprise is enhanced by cultural activity – it brings people together, stimulates activity and participation contributes to quality of life and people’s feeling of wellbeing. It is also part of the expression of our individuality. We can explore and express ourselves through our culture and leisure pursuits. Main findings:

Including everyone - encouraging and supporting participation in culture was a priority for our consultees, especially efforts to make sure everyone has a chance to take part. Groups of people thought to be excluded include older people, young people, people with disabilities, those on low incomes, single parents, ethnic minorities, travellers. Young people in particular were thought to have a ‘culture’ formed from global as well as local influences. We need to promote diversity as well as local distinctiveness and celebrate all aspects of culture. Young people - things for young people to do was seen as a priority – in our research and other local research. In a recent survey, 25% of Shropshire residents said they felt annoyed or distressed by behaviour of young people; young people hanging around is a common problem identified by the crime and disorder audits in all Shropshire districts. But, in a youth audit young people said that hanging around with friends was one of their favourite activities. Less than half young people were happy with local leisure provision, 75% of young people want to be involved in decision making and 27% want to be more involved in the community. ‘no use if you can’t get to things’ - people flagged up transport issues , with the need to improve public transport, make it more integrated and for managers to consider transport and parking issues when developing venues and activity programmes. ‘no use if you don’t know what’s going on’ – people want better and more co-ordinated information about what’s going on – in a residential survey 50% felt insufficiently informed about leisure services and facilities. The strength of the community and voluntary sector has been a clear message throughout the research and consultation exercises, with respondents highlighting the diversity, commitment and expertise of the sector, without which many cultural activities would not happen. This was often accompanied by a call for advice and support tailored to the needs of the sector. Supporting community based events and activities was ranked highly in the feedback. A common need across sectors and activities focused on resources and capacity - groups often felt they were short on both of these – specific needs include funding for new projects, existing projects, and facilitation of networking forums. It was also considered important to make the most of existing resources - knowing what’s already there and using it effectively.






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Role of culture Our surroundings are central to our quality of life and the environment plays a key part of the ‘Shropshire Story’ - Landcape, agricultural and industrial heritage, border country, canals, the River Severn. We both want to make the most of our environment, enjoying the recreational opportunities and outdoor activities, but also protect it – there is a need to promote popular use but not make Shropshire a ‘theme park’. Main findings:  There is a strong message about the importance of the environment – as a whole, as well as separate elements including the quality of landscape, the historic environment, nature and wildlife, the pace and quality of rural life. 94% of Shropshire residents feel the rural environment is important to them personally.  A common theme was promoting access to the countryside and improving and maintaining Rights of Way. This also includes interpretation and promoting awareness - of the history, geology, natural history and archaeology of the built and natural environment. Consultees felt there is a need to encourage popular appreciation but avoid a ‘theme park’ mentality.  Promoting environmental issues - In residential surveys this arises as a top priority and when asked about threats to quality of life environmental issues feature strongly - concerns about transport and roads, green belt erosion and agricultural change and pollution. Research also shows that many people want appropriate development such as using local stones and styles and more consideration of geology and history in planning.  Transport was a recurring theme throughout the consultations, often focusing on the need for better, more integrated, affordable and safe public transport. Other issues included alternative ways of getting around – eg the need for safe, well lit cycle routes, walking routes, bridleways.  Some of the main tensions come up under this heading – there is both a desire for development, but also the fear that change entails some major threats to our quality of life. There is a recognition of the need to find new ways of doing things to sustain the rural economy, but this can run contrary to the desire to keep things as they are. One of the solutions to this was seen to be local level initiatives that offer local people the chance to be involved in local developments.

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Role of culture Encouraging learning through culture emerged as a priority area for action. The unique contribution culture can make to learning includes the ability to offer alternative learning environments and resources, ways of building confidence and life skills. Cultural activities can offer ‘doorways to learning’ which help overcome barriers to learning.
Main findings

Education opportunities and resources - Funding for education is a concern for Shropshire residents – it is seen as one of the top ten threats to quality of life. There are calls for more Higher and Further Education, a broader role for schools and colleges and ways of opening out opportunities in order to overcome barriers to learning. Encouraging creative approaches to learning - Using the unique cultural assets, for example research and interpretation, learning about our environment and our history using a variety of media, sharing expertise, ideas and information. The cultural sector also offers unique opportunities for work experience and training. Widening access to unique cultural assets and resources - There was felt to be scope for making better use of the wealth of resources available, which often offer creative and imaginative possibilities for learning. Historical and environmental data is not generally accessible, although Lottery funded digitisation projects is now making collections more available. Skills development for the cultural sector - Providing practical support and training for organisations involved in culture and leisure is one of the top priorities emerging through the Cultural Strategy research. This includes specialist and technical skills as well as business skills such as management and marketing. Links across generations - There was an enthusiasm for learning opportunities which cross age boundaries, for example events for young children and parents and opportunities for young people to learn with other adults, including elderly people.

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Role of culture Culture makes a significant contribution to the quality and appeal of Shropshire as a great place to live and work. There is an increasing recognition of the role culture plays in regenerating our towns and rural areas and stimulating economic activity. The Market Towns Initiative and Creative Industries Plan are two examples of schemes which actively seek to build on the importance of culture to the mix of Shropshire’s economy. Other major strategic funding packages echo this, offering the potential for developing the role of culture within regeneration and economic development. Main findings The cultural contribution – consultees felt it was important to recognise and promote the role of culture in economic development. The sector is a significant employer in its own right, with leisure, recreation, culture and creative industries providing over 2000 jobs in Shropshire. In addition, it has an impact on the vitality of the tourism, catering and retail sectors of the county. Many people feel we are ‘hiding our treasure’ and not making the most of the potential of Shropshire’s heritage. An example given is the heritage of market towns such as Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and Shrewsbury - it is a key part of their appeal and one of the reasons people visit. Encouraging tourism through culture was considered a priority area by respondents to the Cultural Strategy draft. This was qualified by concerns about the effect on community life, culture and the environment. The need for careful management in developing tourism in Shropshire was stressed. One of the main issues for tourism development was seen to be the duplication and disjointed promotion that characterises current provision. The smaller pockets of activity need bringing together into a more strategic package. Inclusion issues – Consultees want to see everyone benefit from economic development. Shropshire is one of the lowest paid counties in Britain, so it is only ‘a great place to live and work’ if you have a job. Job creation is therefore seen a prime objective. This includes sustainability for young people’s employment, encouraging people to be able to stay in the county and attracting people back who have moved away. Training and employment opportunities are needed and we need to promote creative self employment opportunities.

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INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES Key issue: Cultural opportunities for everyone - encouraging and supporting participation in culture for leisure, pleasure, education or fulfilment. Priority areas Promoting inclusive and equal access:  Seeking to provide opportunities for everyone to take part in the cultural life of Shropshire  Reaching people who are not currently engaged, including people from ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, older people and teenagers and young adults  Celebrating difference and promoting diversity  Understanding barriers to inclusion and access Existing activity Networks, forums and liaison workers already exist into which cultural providers can link. County Council Cultural Services nonuser research project. County Council/Race Equality Council research project. Race Relations (Amendment) Act and Disability Discrimination Act provide a framework and an impetus to positive action for inclusion. Ideas and opportunities for action. Cultural providers need to tie into existing networks and opportunities to reach non-user target groups. They need to promote an appreciation of the key role of culture in contributing to quality of life, so that mainstream networks and ‘gatekeepers’ see the need to work with the cultural sector. Establish means to share research findings across cultural partnerships. Undertake ongoing research programme and service access audits. Develop programmes of outreach and events intended to promote awareness of culture and explore alternative delivery means of potential interest to non-users. This could include intergenerational events, multi-cultural events and activities intended to integrate people with special needs into mainstream provision. Forums and development workers already As above, cultural providers need to establish exist, with whom cultural providers can structured links to specialist ‘gatekeepers’ and work. networks. Cultural providers need to engage in meaningful and ongoing consultation and involvement with young people and to be prepared to make changes to service delivery as a consequence.

Develop cultural opportunities and communications to meet the needs of young people:  Meaningful consultation and involvement Schools, colleges and the Youth Service of young people in determining their provide formal and less formal cultural identity, needs and aspirations.  Seek to retain interest of young adults in opportunities to consult young people. culture after they leave school or college. Democracy Youth Worker provides a vehicle for services to understand issues from young people’s perspectives.
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INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES Key issue: Better and co-ordinated information for the public and between cultural providers; better networking and partnerships which look beyond traditional ‘silos’; support for the voluntary sector and local community activity. Priority areas Better information for the public about Shropshire’s culture. Existing activity Community Information Strategy and partnerships between many information providers exist. Tourist Information Centres, Community Information Points and libraries provide a network of places people can go to for information. Substantial amount of print about Shropshire, including what’s on, although distribution and cross-marketing is less consistent. Tourism Strategy under development. E-government provides an impetus to integrated and electronic information provision. Some cultural sectors already have good networks and partnerships, e.g. arts and sports. Community Plan and Shropshire Partnership can help make connections between the cultural sector and health, crime reduction and community partnerships. Ideas and opportunities for action. Co-ordination of events marketing; support and advice for events and venues marketing. Improved co-ordination between information providers, building upon Community Information Strategy and E-government requirements. Review of festivals and events; review interpretation and promotional print about Shropshire with a view to developing a more co-ordinated approach to marketing. Interpretation Plan and related support mechanisms to develop an integrated approach to telling Shropshire’s stories.

Develop partnership and consortium working, to share resources, skills and opportunities. Improve partnership working between local authority and voluntary sectors. Make effective links with other initiatives, networks and agencies addressing quality of life issues.

Map existing networks and promote them. Facilitate information sharing and support partnership development process - help provide incentives for people to work together. Make links with wider strategies and partnerships and press for a presence for culture on wider agendas and forums. Use the Cultural Strategy as an ‘invitation to get involved’.

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Link into local activity - work with communities to provide local solutions to issues and opportunities.

Community Council, SALC and other bodies provide vehicles through which the cultural sector can make connections with communities. Range of local facilities through which a local presence for culture can be developed. Local authorities and other bodies such as Community Council provide grants and advice. Shropshire has had many successes in securing Lottery funding, but initiatives depend primarily on a committed few. Programme of development of local cultural centres based around existing and proposed facilities. Forum/s to explore potential for shared approach to volunteer management, fundraising and project development.

Encourage and support community and voluntary initiatives with core funding, grants, advice, specialist input, skills training, support for external funding.

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IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT Key Issue: Promoting access and understanding of the importance of Shropshire’s built historic and natural environment. Ideas and opportunities for action. Sustained programme required to address County Council obligations under CROW Act, including action to upgrade the Rights of Way network and sites and nature reserves. Forums to explore and prioritise countryside and environmental actions need formalising, including mechanisms to involve and support voluntary input.

Existing activity CROW Act and other legislation provides direction and deadlines for improved physical and intellectual access to the countryside including production of Rights of Way Improvement Plans and establishment of a Local Access Forum. AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Management plan and Improve physical access to the countryside. governance review provide a means of focusing a strategic partnership furthering Managing the tensions between development the environmental well being of a large and conservation. part of Shropshire. Strong network of voluntary and community action addressing environmental issues. Considerable strengths re environmental education in Shropshire via LEA, schools, charitable trusts and environmental agencies. Visitor centres around Shropshire promote awareness of the Shropshire environment (e.g. Secret Hills, Severn Valley, Wildlife Trust Centre). Externally funded projects have and will continue to enable organisations address major environmental issues e.g. Back to Purple, Blue Remembered Hills, Offas Dyke Path conservation.

Priority areas Provide more information about the importance of Shropshire’s heritage and environment. Celebrate the ‘Shropshire story’ and key features of Shropshire’s heritage. Involve young people in caring for the environment

Develop County-wide Interpretation Plan including access and education plans which seek to engage new audiences. Develop existing visitor centres in light of Tourism Strategy and Interpretation Plan and review key information/intervention points to ensure opportunities to inform and guide the public are maximised.

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Transport issues are pursued via the Local Transport Plan and numerous initiatives are under way.

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PROMOTING LIFELONG LEARNING Key issue: Increasing educational opportunities in Shropshire by promoting the cultural and creative development of Shropshire people; encouraging creativity as a means of learning; maximising educational use of Shropshire’s cultural res ources. Priority areas Promote cultural and creative opportunities. Encourage learning through creativity. Seek to overcome barriers to learning. Maximise educational use of cultural resources. Improve links between Higher and Further Education institutions and the cultural life of Shropshire. Existing activity Local Education Authority, Learning and Skills Council, and Higher Education/Further Education institutions provide a framework for developing cultural and creative opportunities. Similarly many cultural bodies and venues have educational programmes and objectives. The approach in Shropshire is, perhaps, somewhat unstructured as yet. Ideas and opportunities for action.

Cultural sector needs to establish closer mainstream links with the Local Education Authority, Further Education colleges and schools, for example to encourage quality cultural-based courses and opportunities. Cultural sector should seek to articulate its education policies and targets in discussion with education agencies and key providers. Sector plans e.g. County Arts Plan will help push this forward. Develop creative learning opportunities for early years, e.g. expand Bookstart and family Youth, Early Years and Adult Education education activities. Services, Education Acton Zone, Youth Music Action Zone and numerous other Explore development potential of flexible organisations and initiatives also provide cultural learning resources e.g., Museum in a potential for culture as a tool and as an Box, Museum on the Move; educational aim in itself. art as an educational tool, training placements Schools and colleges are proven ‘cultural and volunteering opportunities with cultural centres’ in their own communities, as well sector; events and outreach programming by cultural sector; new media-based learning as providers of structured cultural learning. A number of Shropshire schools opportunities; have already gained Arts, Sports or Media Review opening hours of cultural facilities to College status, further reinforcing the ensure they hit users’ and potential users’ base for wider cultural development. needs. The heritage sector is developing a coDevelop vision for network of cultural centres ordinated approach to educational visits and venues, building upon feasibility work in, and support resources. This is facilitated e.g. Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Bishops Castle.

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by Lottery and other challenge funding for digitisation and other initiatives. The People’s Network has introduced 131 computers with free public internet access to Libraries across the county. Young people’s provision ranges across structured responses such as Connexions, Youth Service, Active Schools and Active Sports to Youth Arts and Youth Theatres and community focused support via bodies such as Shrewsbury Town Football Club and Shropshire Playing Fields Association. Numerous organisations offer informal and community based learning, often with a culture or heritage focus. Various neighbouring Higher Education providers run courses in Shropshire and local Further Education colleges offer varying levels of qualification.

As part of sector development plans (e.g. Arts Plan, Sports Strategy) establish volunteering and education policies and targets.

Worth with Higher Education providers to build upon Eric Robinson Art Trust opportunity to foster visual arts activity in Shropshire. Work with Higher Education providers to encourage and assist research into Shropshire’s landscape and heritage. It is a Community Strategy target ‘to explore options fully for Further Education’.

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PROMOTING LIFELONG LEARNING Key Issue: Supporting skills development in Shropshire’s cultural sector. Priority areas Provide practical support and training for organisations involved in culture and leisure. Existing activity Creative Industries Plan (in development) will provide a base for some of this. Shropshire Sports Partnership facilitates a range of training and coaching courses. Ideas and opportunities for action. Provide formal and informal training, including ‘self help’ courses for professional and voluntary sectors. Formalise support and advisory services to help sectors gain quality standards to open routes to funding support, including grant aid.

Share expertise, ideas and information across cultural sectors.

Provide work experience, training and developmental employment opportunities in cultural sector.

Local authority and other cultural providers offer work experience and volunteering opportunities, although few are linked to achieving qualifications or accreditation.

As part of sector development plans (e.g. Arts Plan, Sports Strategy) establish volunteering and education policies and targets.

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STIMULATING A THRIVING ECONOMY Key Issue: Understanding and supporting the role of culture in the economy of Shropshire.. Existing activity Emergent strategies e.g. for tourism and creative industries and sector working groups are starting to link up practitioners and service providers with economic development and business support agencies, with consequent links into regional funding agencies. Ideas and opportunities for action Use Cultural Strategy to develop advocacy locally for culture as a tool for regeneration. Ensure culture and heritage are included in local audits such as Market Town ‘Health Checks’, Village Appraisals, Parish Plans.

Priority areas Make links with national, regional and local agendas, to demonstrate that culture can help deliver economic and regeneration outputs and to attract resources. Supporting growth in the creative and cultural sectors.

Develop potential of culture, including heritage, as a key element of Shropshire’s tourism product. Establish strategic approach to marketing and promotion of ‘Shropshire the package’ for tourism including local tourism.

Tourism Strategy being developed. Visitor facilities and attractions operated by a range of agencies, including major national visitor attractions in or adjacent to Shropshire. Development plans for several important local facilities.

Develop Interpretation Plan and key Shropshire themes, arising from Tourism Strategy and pursue collaborative venue/attraction marketing and promotion. Provide support for implementation of Tourism Strategy. Complete development plans for key local attractions and visitor facilities including Secret Hills, Acton Scott, Shrewsbury Museum, Ellesmere. Pursue visual arts and crafts venue developments – public and private sector networks. Explore tourism and economic potential of festivals and events and identify issues re development and support requirements. Promote local produce and trade as part of Shropshire’s cultural life and overall appeal. Pursue skills development and support, as outlined above in ‘Promoting Lifelong

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Learning’. Promote and preserve traditional skills and crafts, including local building crafts – furniture and food production.

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Recurring themes From the research and consultation we’ve summarised here, a number of themes keep coming up:1. Access development.     Improved and more co-ordinated approach to marketing and promotion. Research into attitudes of non-users and sharing of ideas for overcoming access barriers. Sustained and co-ordinated approach to consultation, including meaningful involvement of young people in service design and delivery. A willingness to change things in the light of consultation and to address potential users’ practical concerns about a service (e.g. opening hours, event timing, transport information) Legislation (Disability Discrimination Act and Race Relations (Amendment) Act) place responsibilities on all cultural providers to take positive steps to address access and inclusion issues. Mapping Shropshire’s key cultural assets and facilities and identifying significant gaps in provision and priorities for development.



Underpinning all of this is an emerging need for the cultural sector to be very clear about its purpose and goals and to establish, where appropriate, shared policies and plans for achieving them. All parts of the cultural sector want and need to encourage participation; most want and need new and ‘different’ users. 2. Information     Improved and more co-ordinated approach to community information and ‘what’s on’. Improved and more co-ordinated approach to tourist information and marketing. Mechanisms to foster and assist co-ordination of marketing and events planning and promotion. Maximising opportunities of ICT as a communications and information tool, building on government initiatives but also taking advantage of private sector initiatives.

3. Learning  Co-ordinated approach to education and outreach planning in the cultural sector, to produce cost-effective packages, learning resources and content

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relevant to educational institutions.   Stronger and better co-ordinated links between the educational and cultural sectors. Shared vision among venue providers for role and purpose of ‘local cultural facilities’.

4. Links to ‘mainstream’.  Demonstrate importance and relevance of culture to mainstream networks, e.g., for : learning : young people : equalities : community regeneration : economic development  Shared policies and visions which reinforce the relevance of culture, supported by robust research and high profile demonstration projects.

5. Appreciating Shropshire   Vigorous response to emerging Tourism Strategy, leading to production of a shared Interpretation Plan for Shropshire. Arising from the Interpretation Plan, a framework of actions to implement it, including: : clarifying the vision for key ‘assets’ and venues : a coherent approach to Festivals and events : workshops and support to enhance interpretive product across the county 6. Supporting the ‘team’. The ‘team’ is anyone and everyone working to further the cultural vitality of Shropshire. This includes the voluntary, educational and private sectors, as well as local government.      Advocacy and profile of the cultural sector, including promotion of ‘mainstream’ links. Facilitating networking, through e.g. sector forums, to agree policies, share ideas and good practice and co-ordinate initiatives outlined above. Funding support, e.g. grants and support in fund raising. Providing specialist advice, input of technical expertise and practical guidance. Training, skills development and promotion of courses leading to qualifications.

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 

Shared approach to volunteer management and support. Facilitating improved communications and information exchange.

Getting started! There are lots of ideas for action and the next stage is for organisations and local authorities to decide which actions they are going to address first. Some of them are fairly easy to implement if people work together on this. Send your comments and proposals for how your organisation can help to the Cultural Services Offices at Shropshire County Council. We will keep people informed about progress and partners’ reactions to the Strategy via our website and news sheets in libraries and other cultural facilities. Contact: Cultural Services Shropshire County Council Shirehall Abbey Foregate Shrewsbury SY2 6ND Telephone: 01743 252252 Minicom: 01743 255017 email: (to be advised) website: www.shropshire-cc.gov.uk/culturals.nsf

If you would like this document in another format, such as large print, please contact Agnes Thomas on 01743 252252 to discuss your requirements.
February 2003

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