Response to Communities First consultation
Jan 17, 2017
The Federation has recently responded to Welsh Government's consultation about their Communities First programme:
Consultation on future of Communities First
Museums make a positive contribution to their communities in areas such as wellbeing and the economy as well as being a focus for local pride in culture and heritage. Museums – local authority, independent and National - have therefore engaged with Community First communities and agendas where they have been able. Over the last two years the Federation has awarded grants amounting to over £25,000 to 10 local museums through its small grants scheme to deliver projects related to Community First areas.
Museums have however sometimes struggled to reach the right people as the current 52 Community First areas do not always coincide with the location of the local relevant museum.
The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales is therefore supportive of the proposals to build community resilience across wider geographical areas. Museums can contribute and support development within the three priority areas (Employment, Early Years and Empowerment). There are already a number of examples of good practice with inspiring case studies within these areas. These include empowering local people through volunteering as a basis for confidence building as well as a springboard to paid employment; the opportunities in museums for learning through play for small children; dementia friendly activities contributing to Ageing Well in Wales, etc. Museums will grasp the opportunity to use and expand this experience across a wider area.
We hope that some of the clear benefits of the Communities First system are kept in any new approach. For instance, whilst museums are often very well connected with community organisations within their local areas, they can make wider connections by engaging with, and gaining the interest of, the lead Community First organisations and their staff to serve new audiences.
We also expect that the new approaches proposed will include highlighting the importance of embedding the value of culture and heritage activity within wider agendas as they can have lasting positive effects on communities. Linked to actions within the Future Generations Act museums can form a powerful tool to provide long term community benefits.