Agenda item

The Green Strategy Review

The Head of Culture will be in attendance to provide information in relation to Middlesbrough Council’s Culture and Community Action Group.


RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required.


The Head of Culture was in attendance and gave a presentation in relation to Middlesbrough Council’s Green Strategy Culture and Community Action Group.


The Action Group’s current objectives were ambitious and high level, forming a long term strategy, and were as follows:


  • Develop an ambitious town wide approach to environmentalism with arts organisations in Middlesbrough: 20 year vision - all arts organisations are carbon neutral by 2040.


  • Increase public awareness and engagement in green issues: 20 year vision - Middlesbrough is recognised for relevant cultural programming that is focussed on the environment. 


  • Increase public engagement with our open spaces: 20 year vision is to increase footfall and engagement from diverse range of communities. 


  • Create the most radical parks in the UK! 20 year vision: Middlesbrough is recognised as the place with the most innovative parks in 2040.


  • Develop a cultural capital plan for Middlesbrough. 


  • Increase access to culture for communities in Middlesbrough. 


There had been a number of success in the first year of the strategy which included:


       Successfully implemented new events at Newham Grange Farm encouraging use of green spaces.  A new covered space included an exhibition about the journey from field to plate and there was also a live beehive.  The space was dedicated to environmentalism as a whole and the story of the farm and food.  Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, visitor numbers continued to increase year-on-year.


       Successfully implemented new events in Middlesbrough parks including Nightfall which encouraged thousands of new visitors to Stewart Park.  This was a partnership event with Stellar Projects which attracted 20,000 additional visitors within four days.


       Developed a new investment prospectus for cultural capital investment. The prospectus outlined plans as a cultural sector for the whole town and heritage sector.


       Submitted a £5 million pound bid for developing cultural buildings in the town centre.  The bid included £2.5 million for the Central Library.


       Developed an outdoor Holiday Action Fund programme for young people in our parks.  Parks and Museums were working collaboratively to engage young people and encourage them to think of parks as cultural venues and visit with their families.


       Secured funding for the Eco–festival.  Planning was underway for an Eco-festival which potentially would take place across multiple venues although this had not yet been confirmed.


       Parks investment.  This included £100K for Albert Park capital investment, £45K for Stewart Park from Section 106 Funding, potentially up to £90K investment from the Lawn Tennis Association for resurfacing tennis courts in Albert Park, Holiday Action Funding and Arts Council funding for park events including a circus, fairytales on ice, party in the park, the MELA and sports activities.


The Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership consisted of twenty arts organisations working collaboratively together.  This included joint delivery of projects by MIMA and the Tees Valley Nature Partnership.


For the next year, the intention was to build on the cultural programme in parks and ensure events were environmentally sustainable.  The Eco Festival would build on the partnership with Environment City and the Town Meal.


There were no additional resources or capacity for the Green Strategy and initiatives were being delivered from within the current Culture and Communities budget.  The aim was to embed the ethos of the Green Strategy into everything that the service did, trying to put on additional activities such as the Nightfall project or the capital investment programme.


It was confirmed that a bids had been submitted to the Towns Fund to provide additional investment in Thorntree and Pallister Parks.  The Council’s Area Care service was currently working on the bowling green at Pallister Park to get it ready for the new season.    As well as provision for tennis at Albert Park, consideration could also be given to providing MUGAs (Multi Use Games Areas).


In relation to Newham Grange Farm, it was suggested that consideration was given to introducing reduced price days to help families, and also whether access to the café, without having to enter the farm, could be made available.   The Officer confirmed that free entry to the farm had been previously been provided to looked after children and through the Holiday Action Fund initiatives.  


Responding to a query regarding hosting events in different parts of Middlesbrough, the Officer explained that the events programme was fairly fixed and particular areas were generally chosen based on what the companies hosting the events wanted.  It was unusual for the Council to deliver events itself but there was funding available of up to £20K for events for external providers.


The Chair thanked the Officer for attending the meeting.


Councillor Arundale provided an update regarding the Flood Prevention Scheme at Sandy Flatts and the recent tree planting carried out by the Environment Agency in that area.  Councillor Arundale commented that it was a good area to plant trees and help fulfil the Council’s commitment to green up the town.  The Council would also be considering other areas in this location to plant a micro forest.


AGREED that the information provided was received and noted.