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Cultural strategy champions ‘all that makes the Borough great’

Published on Thursday, 7th September 2023

Councillors have agreed a new cultural strategy to help make the Borough a great place to live, work and visit

A new cultural strategy for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough has been welcomed as a way for local people to celebrate ‘all that makes the Borough great’.

The new document outlines the wide range of activity which already takes place, the people who benefit from that, and the value that cultural activity as a whole might have for economic activity and the health and wellbeing of residents.

But it also sets out how the Borough has come to be seen as an area where people don’t participate in arts, heritage and cultural activities in the way that people do in other parts of the country.

Conducted for the Borough Council by arts organisation Art Reach, the document provides a thorough analysis of what people value and what they might like to see in the future.

It includes doing more to capitalise on the things that make the area special, including roots in ribbon weaving and hat making, the legacy as the birthplace of author George Eliot, and the proud coal mining history.

Bedworth’s Armistice Day event is the biggest outside of London, and a range of faiths and cultures are celebrated in the Borough, including the significant and active Gurkha community.

The Borough’s two town centres, town centre markets and destination parks at Riversley Park and Miners’ Welfare Park also have a big role to play.

The document notes the success of events such as Sanctuary in Miners’ Welfare Park Bedworth, and Sharing the Light in Nuneaton town centre as they caught the imagination of local people during 2022.

New investment in Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery as well as regeneration in Nuneaton town centre and a proposed physical activity hub to replace the outdated leisure centre building in Bedworth are all causes for optimism, the document notes.

And Bedworth Civic Hall, although closed in its current form due to the cost of operating such a large venue, could still have an important part to play, too. A process is in place to find a new operator for the venue.

Now the Borough Council wants to help identify how to make more of these opportunities.

A new cultural forum will be set up to encourage joint working and share ideas as well as building relationships, and Arts Council funding will ensure nationally-known organisations Artichoke and Imagineer Productions will be working in the area and with local artists to try and kick start fresh impetus for cultural activity.

Key priority areas set out in the document include developing skills of local people in culture and the arts, using culture to support community initiatives and using culture to support the physical regeneration of the Borough.

Said portfolio holder for Public Services, Cllr Sue Markham:

“This Council is determined to make Nuneaton and Bedworth a great place to live work and visit, and that is exactly what culture is all about. 

“Culture helps so much establish a shared sense of identify and civic pride. It is all about what makes our Borough great, and I hope everyone will get behind some of the ideas in this document to help make this vision.

“We have said many times we are Building a Better Borough. We believe the imagination and creativity of local people are absolutely key, and we will be looking for opportunities to capitalise on these attributes.”

An event to formally launch the Cultural Strategy in Nuneaton and Bedworth will take place in October.

The Cultural Strategy document was presented to councillors at the Borough Council’s ruling Cabinet on Wednesday 6 September.