Arts Council and government’s wellbeing agenda

The new report by the All Party Parliamentay Group on Wellbeing Economics ( recommends that: The benefits of arts subsidy must be spread to those with lower wellbeing.

This makes economic sense because evidence indicates that people with the lowest wellbeing get the maximum benefit from arts subsidy. Then there is the fairness argument; the most marginalised among us need the most help to access the knowledge and beauty of art and culture which belong to us all. On top of that there is a simple survival case; if arts and cultural organisations don’t fulfil a social purpose, why fund them?

The New Economic Foundation’s 5 ways to wellbeing is deployed in most government documents as a guide to decent living.

Connect… …Building these connections will support and enrich you every day…

Be active… …Exercising makes you feel good…

Take notice… …Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful…

Keep learning… … Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun…

Give… …Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group…

ACE’s public engagement and artistic quality thresholds are difficult to reach for people with the lowest wellbeing, who lack connection, activity, curiosity and the wherewithal to learn or give. The challenge for ACE is to invest long term in helping people reach a position where they can gradually spread their imaginative and creative wings from a standing start. Not the world of the quick win, but what The Restoration Trust does.

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