Councils hand over keys to county’s arts and museum assets as new trust pledges to make Hampshire a world-class venue for culture.
A significant change in the way Hampshire’s council-owned museums, galleries and arts centres are run is set to take place on Saturday 1 November 2014.
From that day, Hampshire Cultural Trust will take over the operation and funding of all venues in order to boost the county’s cultural offering and make Hampshire a world-class destination for art and culture. Buildings, assets and collections belonging to the Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council will be leased to the Trust
It is anticipated that the move will not only safeguard the long-term future of Hampshire’s cultural venues for future generations, but also help Winchester City and Hampshire County Councils to save money by placing responsibility for all sites under one charitable trust. As a larger organisation, the Trust will be able to generate significant additional investment, have access to external grants and donations and therefore reduce dependency on local authority funding.
Hampshire Cultural Trust champions world-class culture and exists to showcase, connect and empower Hampshire’s creative economy. The independent charity works collaboratively to bring organisations, people and ideas together for greater impact.
Hampshire Cultural Trust will work with all individual venues, which include Winchester’s City Museum, Milestones in Basingstoke and The Forest Arts Centre in New Milton, to boost their offerings, increase visitor numbers and make them more profitable. All staff will be transferred to the employment of the Trust.
Janet Owen, Executive Officer of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said:
This is an incredibly exciting time for arts and culture in Hampshire. The county has so much to offer culturally, both to residents and visitors, and our aim is to build on the fantastic success of what is already on our doorstep and elevate our portfolio into something world-class that has the power to transform people’s lives.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said:
We are very proud of Hampshire’s heritage and all that our museums service has achieved in looking after its world class collections and unique heritage. I am truly delighted that Hampshire’s museums, arts and cultural services have this opportunity to grow and flourish, bringing in more visitors to the local economy at the same time as being able to offer more for Hampshire’s residents.
Councillor Rob Humby, Leader of Winchester City Council, said:
Museums and art galleries are a key element of Winchester’s and Hampshire’s visitor economy and the new Hampshire Cultural Trust is set to boost their contribution still further. In the Winchester district we had 5.5m visitors in 2013 and the economic value of tourism has grown by £100m over the past five years - the cultural sector is a major contributor to these figures.