The value of Arts and Culture in the community

It is very difficult to argue a business case for allocating money into the arts. Councils and big money funders have constant dilemmas when it comes to the funding "the arts" because, unlike commercial enterprises, it is harder to make a big profit out of them. However, having an innovative and engaging arts and culture scene is far more valuable than just the profit it can turnover. The revival of declining towns around the UK has in many cases been due to a strong investment in creating an arty, exciting cultural scene (for example in Liverpool, Margate and Morecombe). When people can engage with their creative side, attend the theatre, see art works and appreciate music their lives are enriched, they are far more likely to feel part of where they live and contribute towards it. Bromley has always struggled with providing an engaging arts programme that can be accessed easily by everyone in a community focussed space, but there are some fantastic artists people living in Bromley who want to share their work with others and inspire people to be creative. The domination of shopping as a pastime in Bromley ironically has only helped quicken the town's decline, with the sight of empty shops and restaurants closing all around us all the time (and yet another huge commercial complex is being built at Bromley South as I write...)

We hope to provide another element to a visit to Bromley by having a dedicated space where families can go to be part of fun workshops, where we can appreciate some fantastic art works, to see plays and films and enjoy the non-commercial side of Bromley. We believe that preserving a cultural, community and arts space for the people is integral in any town centre, people don't identify with shops, they need to connect with others and feel proud of the town they live in, we think we can do this through breathing some life, art and culture back into the town centre in the Royal Bell.

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