LONDON, UK.- Thirteen local authorities have been chosen by the Government to be Cultural Pathfinders, showing how culture and sport can help deliver Government priorities across public life. The Government's social, environmental and economic agenda is to be promoted through cultural initiatives at local level.
In a joint initiative with the Local Government Association (LGA), the DCMS has chosen Birmingham, Canterbury, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Liverpool, Manchester, North and South Tyneside, the London Borough of Richmond, Spelthorne, Sheffield, Somerset, and Suffolk to:
Show how culture can contribute to other Government work at local level in the fields of healthy living, community safety and social cohesion, Use culture and sport in new and experimental ways to help build sustainable communities, and Test new and innovative ideas at local level, and share best practice with other authorities.
The 13 councils, drawn from 88 who applied, will be pathfinders for two years.
Culture Minister Richard Caborn said: "The arts and culture can be a really effective way of getting across our priorities. And they are uniquely well-placed within local authority services because they are the services that people choose to get involved with. They are also flexible enough to be used in a wide range of areas without losing their impact.
"Local and national government are committed to raising standards and improving quality across the whole spectrum of local services. I look forward to seeing what these 13 councils can do to find new approaches and share best practice."
Cllr Chris White, Chair of the LGA Regeneration Board added: "Whether it's a trip to an art gallery, a kick-around at the leisure centre or access to a local library, cultural activities play a vital role in improving peoples' standard of living. The launch of this pilot project is therefore a very welcome one.
"I am confident that this pilot scheme will be successful in demonstrating the impact of these services and highlighting how all local authorities can support their communities through cultural activities."