To receive a presentation on the working arrangements at the Hampshire Cultural Trust from Ms. Janet Owens, Chief Executive Officer. A copy of the Hampshire Cultural Trust Annual Review is attached for reference.
The Panel welcomed Ms. Janet Owen, Chief Executive Officer, Hampshire Cultural Trust, who attended the meeting to give a presentation on the working arrangements for the Trust.
The Panel was advised that the Trust had been founded in November, 2014 to promote Hampshire as a cultural county and to operate the 23 venues within its portfolio, two of which, the Aldershot Military Museum and the West End Centre, were in the Borough. The Trust had an annual turnover of £7.5 million, employed 138 staff, assisted by over 400 volunteers, and cared for 2.5 million objects. The Trust had been established to enrich and transform the lives of people through cultural experiences, which connected well with the Rushmoor priorities. It was advised that the Trust was led by a strong leadership team supported by a number of trustees, with varying skill sets, to help drive the trust forward.
It was advised that a refurbishment programme was currently underway and the Aldershot Military Museum had benefited from an updated logo, new signage and a refresh of the shop and café facilities. A new ticketing system had also been introduced that allowed annual entry with tickets purchased with Gift Aid.
Supporting and empowering local communities had been a priority for the Trust, an example in the Borough of this had been The Gurkha Connection, an exhibition of photography, by young people in Hart and Rushmoor, of serving Gurkhas, veterans and local members of the Gurkha community. This exhibition had first been displayed in the Military Museum and had recently opened in Southampton. Other projects included the Arts Council funded Reaching Out Project, a curriculum linked learning programme for young people in heritage venues, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded Horizon 20:20 project, which worked with vulnerable people in venues such as the West End Centre.
Ms Owen informed the Panel of the financial position of the Trust, and reported that, year on year, a financial surplus had been achieved with unrestricted reserves of circa £700,000. Performance management had significantly improved during 2017/18, including clarity on key performance indicators and targets at venue level.
Ms Owen explained that, moving forward the Trust had identified what worked effectively and had segmented their portfolio into four categories:
· Social Impact through community arts and museum venues (Aldershot Military Museum)
· Cultural partnerships – education and wellbeing
· Culture Hubs – including arts centres (The West End Centre)
These categories helped identify what worked and prioritised the focus for each venue. 2018/19 would see the West End Centre become part of the new Cultural Hub and Community Work Streams and the Aldershot Military Museum would welcome a dedicated Community Manager. It was also noted that a new website was being developed for the Trust; this would include a sub site for the West End Centre with a new box office system. The West End Centre would also be launching “Gallery Live” which would be significantly promoted through social media and both venues would continue to be part of the development programme for 2018/19 onwards.
In response to a query regarding funding, it was advised that the Trust had a 25 year agreement with Hampshire County Council (HCC), other funding was secured through grants, philanthropic funding and ambassador schemes. Going forward fundraising would be strengthened through the employment of a dedicated fundraising manager. This resource would allow for other funding streams, such as social impact funding, to be explored.
A request was made for more detailed financial information of the two venues in the Borough, and Ms Owen undertook to provide this after the meeting.
The Chairman thanked Ms Owen for her presentation.