William Eichler 10 August 2016

New programme will give 600 youths access to the arts, Whitehall claims

A new programme promoting cultural engagement within disadvantaged communities will provide 600 young people increased access to the arts, the Government claims.

The Cultural Citizens Programme will offer a range of cultural activities, such as free visits to local plays, behind the scenes access to museums and galleries, and exclusive trips to world class venues.

It will be piloted in Liverpool and Blackpool, Birmingham, and Barking and Dagenham this September, and delivered by Arts Council England and partnership organisations.

If the programme is successful, it will be rolled out across the country.

‘Arts and culture are an integral part of British society - it boosts tourism, improves our wellbeing and provides a source of local pride and identity. We want to ensure that it is available to everyone, no matter what their background,’ secretary of state for culture, media and sport Karen Bradley said.

‘The Cultural Citizens Programme will open doors for hundreds of young people across the country, so they can enjoy our fantastic arts and culture scene, and gain the skills to build careers in this thriving sector.’ Darren Henley, chief executive of the Arts Council England, said: ‘Our investment in the Cultural Citizens Programme will help to ensure that more children and young people will have the opportunity to engage with art and culture, regardless of their background.

‘We hope the scheme will complement our existing programmes for children and young people, and help to nurture the cultural citizens of the future.’

This new programme is introduced against a background of a general decrease in investment in the arts and culture.

A recent Arts Council report, entitled Funding Arts and Culture in an Age of Austerity, showed that while councils in England are still the biggest investors in culture at £1.2bn a year, funding was still cut by 17% with further cuts expected to come.

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