The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham Borough Council appoints arts officer to boost cultural life

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Picture: Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

THE BOROUGH council has appointed a cultural development officer to further the arts across the area.

Speaking at the borough council executive meeting, Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said the council hopes to deliver more and better art and cultural activities.

He was responding to a question from Cllr Michael Firmager, who asked: “What can we do through the Arts and Culture Strategy to help lift Wokingham Borough out of the coronavirus emergency?”

He said: “We now have a draft strategy that not only seeks to develop and promote our local cultural offer but also highlights the many ways in which arts and culture can impact on social and economic well-being.

“While the pandemic has sadly curtailed pretty well all live events, performances and attendance at cultural venues, the amount of online content that has been made available and widely accessed pays testimony to the importance of arts and culture to all our lives and identities.

“Particularly in lockdown we have seen how valuable arts and culture is in supporting people’s mental health and well-being, providing connection and stimulation and reducing social isolation.”

Cllr Batth also said the council is working with local technology firm, Volume, to develop a platform for better connecting people with arts and cultural activities that interest them.

He added: “I believe that people across the Borough will be eager to access arts and culture locally and that the strategy provides a vehicle to deliver more and better as we emerge from the impacts of coronavirus.

“This will provide enormous benefits both socially and economically and, perhaps above all, be key to lifting spirits and celebrating the many, many positive acts of kindness and mutual support that we have seen across our communities over recent months.

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