Cabinet approves Hounslow’s Borough of Culture bid while setting in place a new cultural commissioning framework

At a meeting of Hounslow Cabinet on Tuesday 15 October, Hounslow Council unanimously approved a new approach to promoting culture across the borough

Published: Wednesday, 16th October 2019

Image of Cabinet team supporting the Borough of Culture 20120 bid

By bidding to be London Borough of Culture 2021 and through adopting a new approach to commissioning cultural activity.

Hounslow is blessed with a range of significant cultural infrastructure which in recent years has benefitted from significant investment to support the regeneration of key cultural sites like Boston Manor House and Park, Gunnersbury and Hogarth House. 

The borough’s cultural activity is diverse and dispersed across the borough with two council-funded providers; Feltham Arts and Watermans Arts Centre delivering a range of cultural opportunities across the borough.

The borough is submitting a bid to be London Borough of Culture in 2021 which is a GLA-backed initiative to promote culture across the capital which will provide an opportunity for the borough to benefit from additional direct investment of £1.35m for cultural activity.

The Cabinet’s approval of the borough’s London Borough of Culture bid included a commitment to match funding of up to £337,500 plus £67,500 in in-kind support in the event of the bid being successful.

The Borough of Culture award Cabinet also approved a new approach to funding culture across the borough with the creation of a We are Hounslow cultural commissioning budget. This new arrangement will replace the historic use of cultural grants. This budget will be available to organisations that support the delivery of a range of Hounslow Council’s corporate plan outcomes through cultural activity.

The council wants to see its commissioning activity focus on the movement of people, ideas and, building further community and cultural capacity in Hounslow – very much in keeping with the ambitions that the council want to see the Borough of Culture award support.

Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Lead for Leisure Services at Hounslow Council said:

“The decisions taken at last night's Cabinet signal a new direction for culture in Hounslow which will hopefully be mobilised by a successful London Borough of Culture bid for 2021. We want to elevate our cultural offering, emphasising civic pride and to lay to rest the perception of Hounslow as a place one passes through on the way to somewhere else.

“We want to showcase the amazing things that happen in the borough against a backdrop of a borough where cultural participation and opportunity vary widely. Our bid, shaped by our collaboration with residents, cultural organisations and others, will use this unsurpassed opportunity to grow connections throughout Hounslow.

“Regardless of the Borough of Culture, a direct commissioning revenue budget for culture will replace a culture grant which has been in place since 2012. This commissioning budget will stand at £175,000 for 2020/21.”

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