National Museum Wales embraces government’s anti-child-poverty agenda 4 Jun 2014

The Welsh Government has been working to make sure that children from poorer backgrounds get access to culture and that this in turn enhances their life chances. Now National Museum Wales has published a resource pack for museums based on consultations last year. It highlights the key to successful arts participation projects including:

  • Partnerships – “for example, educational institutions, Pupil Referral Units, young mums’ groups, homelessness organisations, young offender teams/prisons, The Salvation Army, Barnardo’s, organisations working with children with specific disabilities.”
  • Showcasing the work of children and young people through community arts organisations gives them recognition and confidence
  • High quality activities for children of all backgrounds
  • Exit strategies for when projects end – what can children do next?

The report also advocates ‘programme bending’ – using mainstream sources of funding for cultural work which is also a social intervention. For instance, Glyncoch in Wales was identified as one of Wales’ most deprived communities in the last census, with half of all adults having no qualifications. An arts programme monitored by the People and Work Unit was shaped to give adults confidence to find work and travel outside the area, while there were inbuilt opportunities for young people to develop skills. Benefits included lowered local crime rates and improved school attendance among Year Seven pupils.

Reflecting on the work on his blog, National Museum Wales Director David Anderson writes, “it is our task to create something new: a National Cultural Service for Children. Like health, education, housing and every other universal service, children's cultural participation must be developed locally, if it is to be effective, but within a national framework.”