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Libraries Unlimited support Exeter’s bid for Arts and Lottery funded ‘Great Place Scheme’

Posted on 08 Sep 2016

An Open Letter – Supporting Greater Exeter’s expression of interest to the ‘Great Place Scheme’

The Great Place Scheme has been launched by Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. Expressions of interest are being sought from across the country to be awarded one of the 12 pilot places in the Scheme to run 2017-20 – This presents not only an opportunity for investment in culture, but also a chance to take advice from national bodies, to learn from and share with others, in a genuinely collaborative way.

We know that participation in the arts and creativity, heritage and the historic environment is positive for communities; we understand the value of culture in improving the quality of people’s lives. This is a chance to innovate and nurture talent; to establish new collaborations and strengthen existing ones. It is a superb opportunity to look to the future and ensure this part of the world remains an exceptional place in which to live, learn, love and grow. This Scheme presents a great opportunity to build on the good work that has gone before.

It is extremely relevant not only to the greater Exeter area, but the surrounding communities for the following reasons:

  • It allows locally defined areas to formulate new collaborations for culture, to encourage more engagement in heritage, arts and creative activity
  • It builds on the existing strengths within the local arts, culture and heritage sectors in order to maximise their positive cultural, social and economic contribution
  • The Scheme will help develop collaboration so that the contribution of culture is recognised in and supported by long-term plans for the area – including health and wellbeing, economic development and destination management
  • It complements the Arts Council ‘place-making’ agenda that the Exeter Cultural Partnership was established to develop
  • There is a natural fit with the city’s Cultural Action Plan and with Exeter City Council’s prioritising of culture within economic development
  • Many cultural organisations based in Exeter reach far and wide across Devon and beyond. We want to do more of that and do it well.

Exeter Cultural Partnership, which has representation from across arts, education, food, health, heritage, libraries, museums, retail and sport, is fully supportive of making a bid. Exeter City Council is taking a lead role in making the case and is inviting neighbouring District Councils to collaborate in this endeavour.

The Scheme not only offers additional funding; it also provides a framework for us to try a more joined-up and sustainable model of engaging people from across our local government areas with culture. It will allow us to learn from, and share with, each other.

Our part of the world is a great place to be, where people from town or country, city or seaside can come together. Let’s make it together – let’s make a great case for the Great Place Scheme. 

Celia Atherton OBE, Vice Chair of Scope
Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP
Alasdair Cameron, Managing Director, Exeter Cathedral
Andy Cooper, Editor, Devon Life; Group Editor South West, Archant
Stuart Crewes, Creative Director, Art Week Exeter
Patrick Cunningham, Director, Exeter Phoenix
Councillor Rosie Denham, Lead Member for Economy & Culture, Exeter City Council
Ciara Eastell, Chief Executive, Libraries Unlimited
Councillor Pete Edwards, Leader of Exeter City Council
Matt Evans, Chief Executive, Active Devon
Councillor Nigel Grimshire, Cranbrook Town Council
Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager & Cultural Lead, Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Karime Hassan, Chief Executive, Exeter City Council
Victoria Hatfield, Economy & Tourism Manager, Exeter City Council
Liz Hill, Director, Daisi
Professor Stephen Hodge, Director of Arts & Culture, University of Exeter
Jenny How, Director, Visit Dartmoor Organization
Jo Hunter, Co-founder, 64 Million Artists
Paul Jepson, Artistic & Executive Director, Exeter Northcott Theatre
John Laramy, Principal & Chief Executive, Exeter College
David Lockwood, Director, The Bike Shed Theatre
Claire McLaughlin, Business Director, Double Elephant Print Workshop
Jay Milling, Chair, Exeter Cultural Partnership
Michael Morpurgo OBE FRSL
Sarah O’Brien, South West External Affairs Manager, National Trust
Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health, Devon County Council
Derek Phillips, Vice President, Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Chairman, Heart of Devon Area Tourism Partnership
Mattie Richardson, Chair, Fore Street Collective and Board Member, Exeter Business Improvement District
Rhys Roberts, Chair, Visit Devon
David Savill, Chairman, Exeter Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Phillip Smart, General Manager, Killerton Estate, National Trust
Sarah Stride, Acting General Manager, Visit South Devon
Lady Studholme, Chair, Board of Trustees, Exeter Northcott Theatre
Nikki Sved, Artistic Director, Theatre Alibi
Julian Tagg, Chairman, Exeter City Football Club
Dr Janet Tall, Head of Archives & Local Studies, South West Heritage Trust
Martin Thomas, Culture Director, Exeter Cultural Partnership
Dr Phil Wickham, Curator, The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.