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New LGA tool shares innovative ways councils can fund arts and culture

The first-ever online resource to help councils develop innovative ways of investing in local culture under increasingly stretched budgets has today been released by the LGA and Arts Council England.

Named ‘Culture Hub: good practice in cultural services’, the resource highlights interesting and innovative case studies from councils across England that have found creative ways to invest in arts and culture.

Examples included the Culture Liverpool team, who employed commercial and marketing staff to build connections across the city and generate income – over £6m in cash and support over four years. The team also supported the delivery of key events like the Liverpool International Music Festival and the Mersey River Festival.

And in Peterborough, innovative technology was used to increase public accessibility to library services by 50%.

The Culture Hub will be updated regularly and offer ongoing support to authorities planning cultural services. It will also aim to build a database of experience and learning that helps improve practice across the board.

Where councils choose to continue to invest in arts and culture, they can achieve great things,” said Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England. “Many local authorities face tough decisions right now, when public finances are tight.

“But at the Arts Council, we’re clear in backing the ambition of those councils who invest in culture, or which find innovative new models for developing the future of arts and culture in their villages, towns and cities.

“The new Culture Hub and our work with the LGA is just one way, as the nation’s cultural development agency, we’re helping England’s artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries to continue to thrive.”

Cllr Ian Stephens, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, added that despite councils continuing to face budget reductions, they are still able to take a lead in developing innovative ways to provide excellent cultural services.

“The case studies show how cultural activity contributes to every single one of councils’ priority corporate objectives, such as improving health and wellbeing and economic regeneration,” he explained.

“They demonstrate how hard councils are working with their partners to come up with different ways to deliver their cultural services, whether through direct work, commissioning services or Trust models.”

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