Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

We're consulting on 2 strategies to shape the future of arts and culture, and the future of libraries in Central Bedfordshire

Monday, 29 April 2024

We're calling on residents and cultural organisations to share their views on 2 draft strategies planning for the future of arts and culture, and libraries in Central Bedfordshire.

Arts and Culture Strategy

One of the key documents being consulted on will become the first Arts and Culture Strategy for Central Bedfordshire. The draft strategy has been developed in partnership with organisations from the arts and cultural sector and sets goals for a thriving cultural landscape over the next 5 years. 

The aim of the new strategy is to ensure Central Bedfordshire is a place where arts and culture thrive and communities flourish.We aim to encourage a vibrant and inclusive cultural scene in Central Bedfordshire that enriches the lives of its residents, fosters community cohesion, improves wellbeing, nurtures artistic excellence, and drives economic growth. 

The strategy provides information on provision, needs and priorities within Central Bedfordshire, and seeks to provide the evidence needed to help partners to secure grant funding from national and local funding bodies such as Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. 

Read more about the Arts and Culture Strategy consultation.

Library Service Strategy

Our draft Library Services Strategy also looks ahead at the next 5 years, setting out how we plan to ensure libraries remain vital in their communities with priorities for both service improvement and capital investment.

The Library Services Strategy provides information on provision, needs, and priorities in Central Bedfordshire and seeks to provide the rationale and formula to help us secure investment in facilities via Section 106 contributions – money paid by developers to offset the impact of development.

Read more about the Library Service Strategy consultation.

Drop-in events and having your say offline

During the consultation period, we will be holding “drop-in” public engagement events in person and an online presentation for those wishing to discuss the strategies further.

Individuals will also be able to access information about both strategies in all of our library buildings, at any point during the consultation period.

Councillor Mary Walsh, our Executive Member for Planning and Waste, and responsible for libraries, arts and culture, said:

These are two important documents for the future of Central Bedfordshire over the next five years and beyond. A vibrant arts and cultural scene can help communities come together, increase footfall in our town centres and villages, promote health and wellbeing, and give people a sense of pride in where they live. Evidence shows it can also create a prosperous economy, enriching lives through diverse cultural experiences.  

Our Library Services Strategy emphasises our commitment to ensuring libraries continue to be vibrant community spaces, as well as high-quality centres for learning and participation that are accessible to all. We also need to ensure that we are planning for the growth we expect to see in the area in the years ahead.

It’s important that both these strategies align with community aspirations and needs. We urge people to get involved with this consultation, look at the work we have done so far which sets out a series of actions to help us achieve our aims, and help shape the future of arts and culture, and our library services, in Central Bedfordshire.

The Libraries Strategy consultation is open until 23 June 2024 and the Arts and Culture Strategy consultation is open until 21 July 2024.