The Cultural Partnership


The Cultural Partnership

Culture and Sport Development

What is The Cultural Partnership?

The Cultural Partnership was established in 2010 as a strategic delivery network for Culture, Leisure and Sport, with stakeholders from across sectors to support the delivery of the Cultural Strategy for Reading. This multi-agency board has agreed the development and implementation of Readings next Culture & heritage Strategy as a key objective in its Terms of Reference. Other key objectives are

·         To work in partnership to increase the profile, investment and support of culture in Reading

·         To oversee the development and implementation of Readings Year of Culture 2016 and receive regular progress reports from the Cultural Life Working Group and / or from the commissioned organisation to support delivery


Year of Culture

Emerging from early consultation on this new Culture & Heritage Strategy for Reading there were strong messages that the town’s vibrant cultural offer was not as visible as it might be.  Recognising the strategic significance of this issue to Reading’s continued success and reputation the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) adopted ‘Cultural Life’ as one of its priority areas for further work alongside the existing Cultural Partnership.

The consultation discussions generated a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and commitment. What emerged from this enthusiasm and the acknowledged need to raise the profile of cultural activity in the town is the concept of a ‘Year of Culture’ for Reading, owned and delivered by local people and organisations under the umbrella of the Cultural Partnership and championed by the LSP (and all its constituent organisations). To help take this forward a joint LSP/Cultural Partnership workshop on Cultural Life was held, where input was gathered for developing a proposed “Year of Culture 2016”, linked to the aspirations of the developing Culture and Heritage Strategy.

What is the Year of Culture?

The Year of Culture 2016 is seen a means of showcasing, enhancing, promoting and increasing engagement with the wide range of activities, events and networks that exist in the many fields of arts and heritage, all linked to promoting the wider attractiveness and prosperity of the Reading area.  This will ultimately change perceptions of Reading and leaving a legacy of continued cultural excellence and reputation.

Cultural Partnership Board Members 2015

  • Councillor James Anderson (Conservative Group Representative)
  • Melvin Benn (Business Representative and Vice Chair)
  • Alison Bell (Director of Environment & Neighbourhood services–  Reading Borough Council and Vice Chair)
  • Dr William Bird (Voluntary Sector Representative)
  • Ngozi Fakaye ( Equality Alliance Representative)
  • Councillor Paul Gittings (Labour Group Representative and Chair)
  • Adrian Lawson  (Community Representative for Sustainability)
  • Andy Murill (2012 Partnership representative)
  • Councillor Meri O’Connell (Liberal Democrat Group Representative)
  • Maggie Sikora (Community Representative for Health)
  • Richard Stainthorp (Community Representative for Art)
  • Suzanne Stallard (Heritage Representative)
  • Grant Thornton (Head of Economic and Cultural Development – Reading Borough Council)
  • Kim Wilkins (Healthier Reading Partnership Representative)
  • Councillor Josh Williams (Green Group Representative)
  • Kirsti Wilson (LSP representative)

Your Say Arts, Heritage and Sport Consultation 2014

Residents, visitors and businesses were asked for their views on sport and culture in Reading as part of the ‘Your Say: Arts, Heritage and Sport’ consultation. This took place from 9th June until 30th September. The feedback from the consultation will help to shape Reading’s new culture and heritage strategy, being developed by Reading Borough Council with commitment and engagement from the Cultural Partnership and its associated network of community groups and delivery partners. There is strong support for the development of the strategy and for the generation ideas on how culture can play an even bigger role in promoting wellbeing and be an integral part of an even more vibrant and economically successful town.

Link to download report