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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Have Your Say on Culture in Greater Manchester

Thursday, 18 October 2018

It’s the birthplace of the Co-Op, Factory Records and the first free public library and museum. Artists, writers and sportsmen as diverse as L.S Lowry, Paul Scholes and Karl Marx made their names there. It has the second largest indoor arena in Europe, football grounds that have played host to every domestic and European competition and the most nightlife events per capita in the country. It’s Manchester, and the history and culture of this place we call home is one of the reasons why it is like no other city in the world.

Culture, in all its various forms, is not just a “nice to have”. It is the glue that holds our communities together, it gives meaning and pleasure to people’s lives and it advertises our city to the world in a unique and powerful way.  It is for this reason that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has recently launched a consultation on the first ever Greater Manchester Cultural Strategy. From now until the 6th November all 2.6 million of Greater Manchester’s residents, including the 223,109 living here in Tameside, will get their chance to let the GMCA know what Manchester’s culture means to them and how they think it should be protected and promoted.

While the GM Strategy aims to advance and celebrate the culture of Greater Manchester for its own sake, it also looks at how it can feed into our other ambitions for a healthier and more prosperous city region. We know from research that engaging with culture in its many forms can have a profound impact on people’s physical and mental health, especially among those who would otherwise be vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. Nationally cultural activities generate more than £8.5 billion towards the UK economy, more than double what the Premier League brings in, and are a massive driver of education, training and employment. We’ve also seen many examples, both here in Greater Manchester and elsewhere, of how putting culture at the heart of plans for the environment and regeneration make places better to live, work and create in.

It is important that we get the views of our residents now, as the next few years are likely to be incredibly important for the protection of culture in both Greater Manchester and Britain as a whole. Like everywhere else, artists and cultural organisations in our city region have had the funding which they depend on to do their work decimated by over eight years of austerity. To give just one example, in January the Arts Council England (ACE) announced that its budget, and therefore the amount to money it has available to distribute, would be cut by over £156 million over the next four years. The completed GM Cultural Strategy, which will be based on the findings of the consultation and will run from January 2019 to December 2024, will give us the information we need to do more with less, and channel what funding is available to the places where you’ve told us it will have the greatest impact.

You can find the complete GM consultation document on the Combined Authority website here, and the link to the online survey to give your views can also be found here. The Combined Authority will also be holding events across the city region, including Tameside, in the near future to discuss the consultation in greater depth and address any questions and concerns. With your help, we will maintain and further develop Greater Manchester’s culture, inspire our residents to make their own unique contributions, and protect our history and heritage both now and for the future.    


Posted by: Executive Leader