Agenda item

Culture Update (Agenda Item 7)

Report of the Strategic Director – Services


This report provided an update and overview of the activities and achievements in sport and arts development work and highlighted key upcoming activities for the coming year.


The PFI Monitoring and Sports Development Officer explained the background to what had been a very successful sports development programme and the new initiatives which had been introduced.  A particular success had been the schools sports initiatives with the aim of easing the transition between primary school and high school and providing an opportunity for children to experience new activities in high quality facilities.


Key initiatives during the coming year included:


  • Workforce development for volunteers running clubs to help them up-skill and assist with club sustainability and quality assurance.

  • Breckland Swimming Forum, involving national and regional ASA events and special programmes for mothers and babies/toddlers.

  • Pilot project following a successful Sport England bid to be run in Banham as part of the National Extended Activity programme.


  • A programme of high quality and diverse sport and cultural activity was also being developed to coincide with the handover of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London this year.


A Member raised the issue of provision of and access to activities in the rural villages.  It was explained that this was provided through the Holiday Programme.  A lot of outreach work was targeted at the villages and the summer programme would offer 96 sessions across 22 venues.  However, venues had to meet certain standards of facilities and some villages did not have facilities to the requisite standard.  Some children travelled to successive events in different villages.  The high school-primary school sports day pilot had been trialled in Thetford and was being extended and a scheme to cluster villages with a town was being trialled at Dereham, where village school children would be bussed into Dereham for a day’s sports event at a high school.


Transport remained an issue and last year’s pilot programme to provide transport to the leisure centres had disappointingly not be taken up at all.  However, the scheme was being tried again this year.  Any such scheme also had implications for budget and resources.  Any schemes had to be sustainable in the long term.


It was noted that the number of venues had been increased since last year and the programme to achieve a good geographic spread but support for schemes did vary from community to community.


Details of the arts development work were given by the Arts Development Officer.  The 2007/08 arts development programme had been varied and successful and included, amongst other things, delivery of the holiday activities programme, Village Stage and Screen and Open Studios, development of the Breckland Arts Network, as well as other activities and events for young people.  The BBC Concert Orchestra project had been especially successful and well supported.


The Village Stage and Screen projected continued to grow and nine performances were planned this year (up from five last year).


Feedback from the schools’ programmes had been excellent.


Details of the future programme of events included further development of collaborative projects, a funded arts-based community cohesion project being planned with Norfolk Education and Action for Development, ‘Art Alive in Norfolk Churches’, further development of the Breckland Arts Network, as well as other partnership projects.


The Chairman concluded the item by congratulating the officers on the excellent results and thanking them for their report.


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