Help shape the future of culture, the arts and libraries in Central Bedfordshire

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The consultations open today

The future of arts, culture and libraries in Central Bedfordshire is to be overhauled by the council – and you can have your say about how.

The council has today begun two consultations to help shape its arts and culture strategy and library service strategy.

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The budget for leisure and libraries in 2023/24 was £5.1million, 1.1 per cent of the council’s whole budget for the year.

Have your say on culture, arts and libraries in Central BedfordshireHave your say on culture, arts and libraries in Central Bedfordshire
Have your say on culture, arts and libraries in Central Bedfordshire

The draft strategy for arts and culture is a first for the area and has been developed with organisations from the arts and cultural sector to set goals for a thriving cultural landscape over the next five years.

It provides information on provision, needs and priorities in Central Bedfordshire, and help for partners to secure grant funding from national and local funding bodies such as Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

Meanwhile, the council’s draft library services strategy sets out how the council plans to ensure libraries remain vital in their communities.

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There will be “drop in” public engagement events in person and online presentations.

Cllr Mary Walsh, the council’s executive member responsible for libraries, arts and culture, said: "A vibrant arts and cultural scene can help communities come together, increase footfall in our town centres and villages, promote health and wellbeing, and give people a sense of pride in where they live. Evidence shows it can also create a prosperous economy, enriching lives through diverse cultural experiences.

“Our library services strategy emphasises our commitment to ensuring libraries continue to be vibrant community spaces, as well as high-quality centres for learning and participation that are accessible to all. We also need to ensure that we are planning for the growth we expect to see in the area in the years ahead.

“We urge people to get involved with this consultation, look at the work we have done so far which sets out a series of actions to help us achieve our aims, and help shape the future of arts and culture, and our library services, in Central Bedfordshire.”

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Have your say on the council’s website https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultation.

The libraries strategy consultation is open until June 23 and the arts and culture strategy consultation is open until July 21.

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