We won the Council elections in June 2014 with a clear mandate to rebuild culture in Croydon. To put it at the heart of everything we do.
It may sound like a lefty love of the arts, it is, but it is also based on the logic that to make Croydon a successfull major town, it really must have a diverse offering of cultural as well as business and education opportunities.
For example the Council has been promising to refurbish the Fairfield Halls for 10 years. Lots of pretty pictures, millions spent on consultants reports, but never anything more than fine words.
So lots has been taking place behind the scenes to change the direction of the tanker. All at the same time as the Government is directing local government to make huge cuts to public services. A delicate balancing act to protect the future of our town at the same time as dealing with the reality of savage cuts directed at local government.
Its been a wondeful few days as some of our plans are coming to fruition. The appointment of our New Culture Tsar, Paula Murray - borrrowed from our collegaues at Brighton & Hove city Council is one of those impressive appointments done quickly and without fuss by the Council that puts in place someone with enormous experience but also the ability and strategic ability to set in train our work over the next few years on Arts, Culture and Tourism.
To come in to a council which so publicly walked away from culture and the arts only a few years ago (Under the previous conservative administration) is a real challenge, but also an opportunity. Staff who work across the Council and who care passionately about culture, heritage, arts and the like once again have a senior staff member who will begin the process of putting back the strategic plans and making sure that, like Brighton & Hove, Culture in all of its guises is used and supported to help grow Croydon as a borough that is very much at ease with itself and has a wide variety of cultural offers to take advantage of.
|Breaking the 10 years of Council broken promises with £30million restoration and refurbishment at the Fairfield Halls.|
One of the key issues that Paula will be leading on will be to ensure that the £30million Fairfield Halls restoration and refurbishment is delivered and meets our ambitions. With 16 years experience at Brighton & Hove, supporting and growing the renowned Brighton Dome & Festival, Paula brings the right mix to ensure we stay on track with our ambitious project.
It's certainly an exciting time for the arts and culture in Croydon. Much more is going on behind the scenes and I look forward to sharing developments as soon as possible with you.