The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Empowering Local Culture: LGA Insights & 2024 Budget Impact

The recent announcement outlined in the Spring Budget and the Local Government Association’s (LGA) new series of think pieces, offer a promising horizon not just for urban centres but also for the cultural landscape of rural England. These proposals hold the potential to significantly impact rural areas, often overlooked in the broader cultural funding and development strategies.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's commitment, as revealed in the Spring Budget, to permanent tax reliefs for the performing arts, along with targeted investment in national institutions like the National Theatre, sets a precedent for supporting cultural infrastructure across the country. For rural areas, this commitment could translate into more touring productions and orchestral performances reaching communities that are typically underserved. By making the tax reliefs permanent, smaller rural theatres and cultural organisations gain a stronger footing to host performances, thereby enhancing access to the arts for rural populations.

Furthermore, the LGA’s focus on cultural devolution and the exploration of place-led working within its series of think pieces speaks directly to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by rural communities. Cultural devolution allows for more targeted support and investment in rural areas, acknowledging their specific needs and potential for cultural and economic growth through arts and heritage initiatives. It encourages a shift away from a one-size-fits-all approach to cultural policy, towards one that appreciates and leverages the unique characteristics of rural communities.

The emphasis on collaborative approaches and the potential role of philanthropy in supporting arts and culture-led regeneration projects are particularly relevant for rural areas. Such strategies can stimulate local economies, create jobs, and enhance community cohesion, addressing some of the critical challenges faced by rural areas. Fostering partnerships between local authorities, cultural organisations, and communities offers an opportunity to develop sustainable cultural ecosystems that reflect and celebrate the diversity of rural England.

The consideration of qualitative data on culture in understanding lived experiences and the wider opportunities it presents for place-based decision-making is crucial. For rural areas, this means policies and investments can be more closely aligned with the actual needs and aspirations of local communities, ensuring that cultural services contribute to the well-being and vitality of rural communities.

In essence, these national and local initiatives present a comprehensive approach to rejuvenating the UK's cultural landscape, with potentially significant implications for rural areas. By recognising the distinct value and needs of rural communities, these efforts aim to ensure that the benefits of cultural development and support are felt across the entire country, fostering a more inclusive, vibrant, and resilient cultural sector.


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