Community Arts Initiatives

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10th March 2011.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

9. To ask the Scottish Executive what support is provided to community arts initiatives. (S3O-13230)

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government places great importance on community arts in providing opportunities for participation in and appreciation and enjoyment of arts and culture throughout Scotland. Creative Scotland funds a number of community arts activities through the awards for all, inspire and cashback for culture programmes. Projects that are supported include the Village Storytelling Centre in Pollok, in the member’s constituency, with a programme of storytelling events for children, young people and their families in that area of Glasgow.

Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

I welcome the minister’s comments, particularly as she acknowledged the wonderful work that is done by the Village Storytelling Centre, and I note that there are other projects in my constituency.

The minister acknowledges the importance of community arts, which go far beyond simply the arts dimension to involve people and support vulnerable groups. I am sure that she will be aware of the anxiety of community arts organisations that, in tough economic times, the service that they provide will be seen as a luxury. In the light of the Government’s commitment to preventative spending, what analysis has been done of how community arts can be used to support people at an early stage, to prevent, and to save money at a later stage when people, through isolation, might end up going into hospital or whatever.

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

I very much support the sentiment of the member’s question. It is one reason why we have maintained Creative Scotland’s budget through difficult times. Many of the community arts projects are supported by councils, but her point about preventative spend is well made. Shona Robison, the Minister for Public Health and Sport, and I co-chaired a conference specifically on health-related issues. Mental health patients in particular and those who suffer from mental health problems can very much benefit from support. The inspiring change project, which has provided support for prisoners to try to prevent reoffending, has shown evidenced research. If there is anything else that I can identify, I will let the member know.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Question 10 was from Rhona Brankin, who I think has also failed to make it to the chamber.

I have to say that it is regrettable that one person did not note the change of time and another simply has not turned up. That is disrespectful to the chamber and is greatly to be regretted, particularly as I know that Stewart Maxwell had a supplementary question to one of the questions. I do not know whether anybody had one for Rhona Brankin’s. However, I am left with no choice other than to move to the next set of questions.