Tackling poverty through culture

Welsh Assembly Government, Directorate for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport,
13 March 2014, Wales

Commissioned by the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths and written by Baroness Kay Andrews OBE the report examines how cultural and heritage organisations can work closer together in order to help tackle poverty.

It also outlines how bodies can develop stronger links with anti-poverty schemes such as the Welsh Government’s Communities First programme.

The recommendations build on what is already working well and include measures which will:

  • Widen access and break down social exclusion, by addressing physical and psychological barriers to our institutions, such as transport costs;
  • Increase engagement at community level, to anchor culture within communities and increase the impact of outreach programmes;
  • Focus resources and training to support cultural organisations in helping close the attainment gap in our schools;
  • Establish all-Wales action to focus and drive greater engagement around poverty by cultural organisations.

The Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths, said:

“Tackling poverty is one of the Welsh Government’s fundamental priorities and this report underlines the difference that the arts, culture and heritage can make to people’s lives.

“Inspiring children with a love of history can motivate them to read, and to become more successful learners. Taking part in local arts, history and cultural projects on a voluntary basis can help people gain confidence and new skills. 

“Kay’s report highlights a number of excellent case studies but also highlights areas where there is scope to do more, and more effectively.

“It also makes practical recommendations on how the cultural and heritage sector can embed its work more in Communities First areas in order to boost attainment and skills.

“I’m immensely grateful to Kay for the great energy, enthusiasm and insight she brought to the review.”

Speaking before the launch Baroness Kay Andrews OBE said:

“Wales is extraordinarily rich in culture and heritage, and if local communities can draw more deeply on these resources, they can help to raise achievement, reduce poverty and foster pride in community. The foundations are all there.  What is needed is common purpose and clear frameworks to enable people to work together creatively.”

The report complements and builds on An independent report for the Welsh Government into Arts in Education in the Schools of Wales, led by Professor Dai Smith, which reported in autumn 2013.

The Welsh Government will publish a detailed response and action plan in the summer, in parallel with the response to Dai Smith’s report.

The report is available for download here. Please see the external link for further details, including case studies.