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Working together to boost County Durham’s reputation as a cultural destination

Jan 18, 2022 | Leisure & Lifestyle

Tackling climate change and raising the region’s reputation as a cultural destination are just some examples of effective partnership work in County Durham, councillors will hear next week.

Durham County Council’s Cabinet will receive an update on the activities of the County Durham Partnership (CDP) over the last year and other key initiatives in the area when it meets on Wednesday 19 January.

The partnership is made up of key public, private, voluntary and community sector organisations including Durham County Council, with all members working together to improve the quality of life for people within the county.

The CDP’s activities are focused on the County Durham Vision 2035, which aims to create more and better jobs, support people to live long and independent lives and ensure communities are connected. This vision was agreed before the coronavirus pandemic, but its ambitions remain of paramount importance to the partners.

Cabinet will hear this partnership approach remains effective and will receive a report setting out key examples from the previous 12 months, including:

  • Tackling climate change. Following the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021, the CDP held an event aimed at strengthening County Durham’s response to climate change. The event brought together partners from the public and private sector who discussed further actions that could help the county reach its target of being carbon neutral by 2050. They also looked at ways to conserve natural assets for future generations to enjoy.
  • UK City of Culture 2025. In October, County Durham was named as one of just eight locations to make it onto the longlist for the title of UK City of Culture 2025. The Durham 2025 campaign is being led by Durham County Council, Durham University and Culture Durham, a partnership of cultural organisations from across the county. Securing this title would bring transformational social and economic benefits to the county and would raise the region’s profile as a cultural destination.
  • Lumiere. It is now 12 years since the CDP agreed to the inaugural Lumiere and, in 2021, the festival expanded outside of Durham City for the first time. The Marks in the Landscape project saw landmarks across the county lit up in innovative ways, allowing more people to enjoy the magic of the festival on their doorsteps. Commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by Artichoke, Lumiere would not be possible without the support of partners including Durham University, Durham Cathedral and many local businesses and organisations.
  • Fun and Food. The council’s Fun and Food programme returned during the summer and Christmas school holidays, providing fun activities and healthy food to thousands of youngsters. Funded by the Department for Education, activities were delivered by schools, charities, leisure centres, libraries and community groups across the county. Additional funding was also provided by the council to provide activities during the May and October half-term breaks.
  • Grassroot support. County Durham’s 14 AAPs continue to play a crucial role in supporting communities to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, each AAP was also given an additional £210,000 from the council’s Towns and Villages fund to help enhance the vibrancy of their communities. Ward councillors have been allocated an extra £10,000 to spend on local projects.
  • Armed Forces Covenant. A new and refreshed Armed Forces Covenant has been created. This demonstrates the county’s continuing commitment to ensuring that members of the Armed Forces community are treated fairly and can access the support and services they need.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council and Chair of the CDP, said: “Amid the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the need for people and organisations across County Durham to work together has never been greater.

“In the CDP’s annual report there are many examples of how partnership work has delivered positive results in 2021 and we remain absolutely committed to this collaborative approach in 2022 and beyond. Whether it’s working together to support our communities in times of need or joining forces to seize amazing opportunities such as our bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 – it’s wonderful to see County Durham so united in its aims to build a brighter future.”

The council’s Cabinet will be asked to note the contents of the report when it meets at County Hall in Durham City at 9.30am on Wednesday 19 January. The meeting will be streamed live on the council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/durhamcouncil