Vision for South Tyneside as bustling culture hub - how to have your say on arts and heritage strategy for borough

Hopes to build on South Tyneside’s cultural and heritage assets are the focus of a new strategy being drawn up for the future of the borough – and town hall chiefs want your views.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 3:04 pm
South Tyneside Council is asking for people's views on a culture strategy for the coming years.

South Tyneside Council is working on an updated cultural strategy for the borough, setting out what they say is the important role culture can play in the delivery of the its vision for the area’s future.

Now town hall chiefs are seeking the views of everyone in the community under a public consultation exercise running until March 12, with an online survey aimed at helping shape the strategy.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “South Tyneside is such a special place, where people are passionate about the area and take great pride in their culture. It has so much to offer for both residents and visitors alike.

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Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure

“This past year has really highlighted just how important culture is and the positive impact it can have on our health and wellbeing. With many cultural venues greatly missed, people have turned to our beautiful open spaces and found new creative ways of enjoying the arts, from books, writing and exhibitions to theatre and dance, albeit virtually in most cases.

“We would love to hear from anyone interested in culture, heritage and the arts to share their views and help us shape a borough where inspiring cultural experiences make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Cllr Atkinson said the Cultural Strategy for 2021-2026 will outline how the provision of good-quality cultural experiences will be crucial in delivering the vision for the future of South Tyneside.

She said it will reflect the significant investment already made in cultural and leisure facilities across South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow over the last ten years.

This includes the development of Jarrow Community Pool, Haven Point leisure complex as well as Hebburn Central and Jarrow Focus, which bring together leisure, library and cultural facilities under one roof, and she also highlighted how further investment has been committed to upgrade Monkton Stadium.

Cllr Atkinson said the council has also supported people to take ownership of smaller library branches, such as Whitburn Library, enabling them to upgrade and strengthen the offer available.

Making South Shields a “premier coastal resort all-year-round” and town centre regeneration plans capitalising on the area’s stunning seafront and riverside locations have also been key aims of the council and its partners.

And Cllr Atkinson also listed major developments such as The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, Harton Quays Park, the restoration of seafront parks, new Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall and improvements to Sandhaven as successes in the field of culture and heritage.

She said ambitions for a vibrant new Cultural Quarter on South Shields riverside at Holborn will further enhance the Borough’s culture and leisure offer.

She pointed to work promoting and celebrating the borough’s rich history, heritage and culture with a full programme of activities, including community and commemorative events, a Blue Plaques scheme, and support for cultural attractions including The Customs House, Jarrow Hall and Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives.

“It is important that we have an up-to-date strategy that not only recognises our sites of historic importance, but considers the role that new attractions, investment in arts and regeneration play in making South Tyneside an attractive place to live, work, visit and bring up families,” said Cllr Atkinson.

“We want the entire cultural sector to take ownership of the strategy which is why it will be developed in partnership with key stakeholders.

“Demonstrating the Borough’s strong commitment to working together will also help to unlock external funding towards promoting and improving culture and arts in South Tyneside in the future.”

A separate consultation is taking place across the borough’s full spectrum of art forms, from writers, dance and theatre groups to cultural partners and venues, galleries and museums.

Members of the public have until the consultation closing date of Friday March 12 to submit their views via the online survey at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/culturalstrategy

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