Agenda item

Rushmoor Arts Hub

To receive a presentation from Mr. Tony McGovern, Extended Service Partnership Manager on the activities and working arrangements of the Rushmoor Arts Hub.


The Panel welcomed Mr. Tony McGovern, Rushmoor Arts Hub (RAH) Project Manager, and Mr. Barney Jeavons, Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT), RAH Steering Group Chair who attended the meeting to give a presentation on the work carried out so far on the project.


The Panel noted the background to the project. It was advised that Rushmoor had been listed in the bottom 20% of areas in the country for arts, making it eligible for funding from Arts Council England (ACE). In 2012, an unsuccessful bid had been submitted to the ACE South-east; however, after geographical changes within the ACE, this was followed in 2013 by a visit from ACE South-west. A consultation, carried out locally for ACE South-west, took place during 2014 to establish who required help and what help was needed in the area. The consultation findings had led to funds in excess of £39,000 being granted in spring 2015, to the Council and the HCT.


The consultation highlighted that 78% of respondents would like more arts provision in Rushmoor and 42% had stated that they would like to help develop it. Others identified that their organisation would benefit from a dedicated Rushmoor arts website and networking opportunities, and visits from high quality arts organisations.


A Steering Group had been established involving Mr. Jeavons from the HCT, the SoCo music project, First Wessex Housing Association, the Council and Rushmoor Voluntary Services with Rushmoor Schools Plus who had taken the role of co-ordinating the project. The Group met monthly and had established terms of reference and an action plan; it was noted that Mr. McGovern dedicated 10 hours per week of his time to the project. The Group were also supported by a mentor from ACE South-west.


The Panel was then advised of the project activities, including: the provision of inspirational training and development opportunities; the delivery of a website and regular e-newsletters; the hosting of network events; and, the creation of a grant scheme for young people to develop their own skills.


It was explained that a number of learning visits had taken place, Mr. McGovern and Mr. Jeavons had made trips to Bristol, Basingstoke, Farnham, Eastleigh, Exeter, Torbay and Plymouth to experience their creative spaces and how the arts sat within a borough/district. The majority of these places were more established with the arts as part of their communities and the trips had been a productive insight into how the arts could become embedded in local society.


A number of training and development activities had also taken place, including mystery shoppers at the West End Centre and Princes Hall and West End Centre staff development through “learning as the customer”.  This had been achieved by visiting venues and a planned visit for some staff members to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


It was reported that a RAH website was currently being developed and a Facebook and Twitter page had been established. The website would have information about arts organisations and events in Rushmoor and would give visitors to the site the opportunity to chat with each other, creating an online forum/networking facility. It was advised that the sites’ content would be closely monitored. A networking session had taken place in March 2016, to which 54 organisations had been invited to attend but only fifteen had attended. Mr McGovern advised that it had proven difficult to get organisations involved in the project and a decision had been made that the next networking session, in September, would be opened up to a wider audience.


The Panel was informed of the Young Peoples Arts Grant. Grants of between £50 and £1,000 were available to young people between the ages of 13-25 who lived or studied in Rushmoor. The scheme had been promoted in the Arena magazine and the children of Fernhill School, poet Chris Redmond and Whitestone Media, had produced a promotional video. To date, five applications had been successful, with awards of between £350 and £950 to two animators, a filmmaker, a dancer and a drummer.


It was reported that the Arts Council had been provided with an interim report on the progress of the project and had stated that Rushmoor was now on the Arts Council’s radar. The next stage would be to get together with the stakeholders to talk about the future of the project to determine how it could be developed. 


The Panel discussed the possibility of partnership working with the University College of Arts (UCA), Farnham, which  in the past had exhibited at the West End Centre. It was thought that this project might assist in creating a partnership between RAH and UCA. In addition, it was advised that the Sixth Form College held an art exhibition annually of works created by the students. It was noted that, due to cutbacks, funding was tight and the exhibition might need to be stopped in the future.  It was suggested that a grant could be given to the college to enable the exhibition to continue.


A discussion was then held on embedding the arts in every part of the strategic plan and policy. It was felt important to encourage arts in schools and the possibility of utilising empty shop spaces to display art work could be investigated. It was also suggested that a Member of the Panel could be invited to join a stakeholder meeting.


The Panel ENDORSED the Rushmoor Arts Hub and requested an update on the project at a future meeting.