HEREFORDSHIRE Council leaders have unanimously backed a new strategy to promote culture in the county.

Jon Chedgzoy, the council’s museum, libraries and archives manager, presented the Herefordshire Cultural Strategy 2019-2029 at yesterday's (October 15) cabinet meeting.

Its main priorities include focusing on creating a resilient cultural network that makes Herefordshire a great place to live, work and visit.

The strategy also wants to connect with children and young people and support vibrant creative enterprises.

The 10-year plan also wants the arts and heritage to be for everyone and raise Herefordshire’s national and international cultural profile.

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Mr Chedgzoy said there some 500 small businesses involved in creative industries based in the county.

“Knowing that they have the support of the council will help them in future funding bids and developing links across the sector,” he said.

Commissioning, procurement and assets cabinet member Gemma Davies said she wanted to express a huge thank you to all the staff within cultural services.

“Even though we’ve had all these significant cuts, they have carried on and are still providing an incredible service for the Herefordshire citizens,” she said.

“Even more so during Covid. A recent report has shown the huge benefit to health and wellbeing that both libraries and museums provided for individuals who were unable to meet family and friends during lockdown.”

Council leader David Hitchiner acknowledged it was a tough time for everyone in the arts.

“It’s very important that we do what we can to keep those sectors going.”

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Finance and corporate services cabinet member Liz Harvey said her administration decided not to cut £250,000 from cultural services which had been planned before they took office. They instead found the savings elsewhere.

“I’m very pleased to see this cultural strategy here and will be very pleased to support its endorsement,” she said.

“Herefordshire has a fantastic cultural sector. We have festivals and events all year round.

“We have arts activities that contribute to lifelong learning and to our tourism sector it provides a really strong economic boost.

“And in terms of the lives of people who live here. Their wellbeing, mental health and creativity are all enhanced immeasurably by the wealth of cultural landscape that we have in the county.

“Money continues to be tight but I’m sure every member of the cabinet will work together to try and find innovative and inventive ways of bringing culture into as many aspects of this council’s operation as we can achieve.”