Agenda item

Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund / Crowdfund Lancashire


County Councillor Peter Buckley, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services, County Councillor Ash Sutcliffe, Lead Member for Cultural Services and Skills, Steve Lloyd, Head of Cultural Services, and Heather Fox, Cultural Development Manager, presented a report to the committee.


The report provided an insight into Crowdfund Lancashire which was the crowdfunding platform that administered the Lancashire Culture & Sport Fund. Crowdfund Lancashire and the Lancashire Culture and Support Fund empowered Lancashire communities to shape the culture and sport offer where they live, giving community groups autonomy to fund and deliver projects that are of need in their locality.


The committee thanked the officers for the detailed report. A copy of the presentation can be found in the minutes.


Comments and queries raised from the committee were as follows:


·  The committee raised concerns surrounding engaging with young people who were excluded from education and other services. In response to the concerns, members were informed that oversight in this area connected various departments, including Children Family Well-Being and Education Improvement.


·  Following on from discussions surrounding young people out of education, officers also highlighted work that was being done to increase overall engagement with young people, in response to current research that younger generations were the least connected and were the most likely to suffer social isolation. As such, research and outreach efforts were ongoing to involve more young people with community facilities and social spaces such as libraries.


·  The committee discussed how the wider benefits of culture, not just its intrinsic and standalone value, should be emphasised. The Sports Fund was praised for its contributions in steering young people away from antisocial behaviour and as such, the committee recommended that more funding should be assigned to these projects.


·  The committee wanted to know how groups within their local areas could find out about funding available to them, as many would be unaware such programmes exist. In response to the question, members were informed that the relationship between Active Lancashire and Arts Lancashire had grown significantly, enabling communication across different organisations, heightened awareness of funding available, and council involvement through letters of endorsement.


·  The committee raised concerns over noticeable reduced funding for Youth Clubs in certain districts. The officers advised that this was not part of Cultural Services, but Children and Family Services; it was noted that communications with this department would take place and an update reported to the committee.


·  The committee raised a query surrounding the total amount of funding the fund had to allocate. In response, members were informed that the pledge of funding was allocated in the February 2022 budget and consequently was not a one-off initiative, but an effort to build up involvement in communities. The committee was asked by officers to consider a recommendation in the report that the maximum matched funding be lowered from £20,000 to £15,000 to increase the scheme's flexibility and outreach potential. Committee members agreed to support this recommendation.


·  Regarding the officer’s other recommendations, concerns were raised by the committee as to the similarity in concept of recommendations ii and iii, and the consequential futility of including both, and the wording of recommendation iii in the report in which projects from low-income areas are proposed to be prioritised. The committee agreed to support recommendations i, ii and iv from the report and agreed not to support recommendations iii. 


·  The committee raised the subject of involving sport or celebrity mentors to help promote the Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund and enhance the county’s reputation. In response, the members were informed about the improvements to the council’s relationship with external partners who have the most connections across sports arenas.


·  In addition, the committee suggested that the council should work with national bodies such as Football League to increase outreach potential.


·  The committee requested that alternative grant or funding avenues be actively signposted to groups who have been unsuccessful in their Crowdfund application. The officers confirmed this advice was actively provided.


·  Regarding options for increased community outreach, the committee recommended that links with high-capacity venues such as football grounds should be explored to host other events and facilitate greater community engagement and awareness. In response to this question, the officers confirmed that many collaborative projects with notable groups like football teams were ongoing, but that avenues for venue usage would also be explored.


The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and officers for answering the committees’ questions.


Resolved: That the following recommendations be shared with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Cultural Services:


  i.  That the following recommendations from the report be supported:


a.  To continue to reach Lancashire residents and community groups in more areas so all districts have an equitable share of the Lancashire Culture & Sport Fund.


b.  To continue to target under-represented areas and communities through working with district councils and community organisations.


c.  To lower the current maximum pledge of £20,000 to £15,000. This would allow the panel to support more projects at higher pledge amounts, meaning more funds could be spread across the county and increasing the likeliness of more projects reaching their crowdfunding target.


ii.  That recommendation iii from the report to prioritise those projects in low-income and for under-represented areas not be supported at this time.


iii.  Officers to consider how venues can be utilised and accessed more for community events, allowing communities to have greater access to venues and facilities that are available in Lancashire.


Supporting documents: