Why are people in Halifax starting to see the value of the arts and culture

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, in Sheffield.
Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, in Sheffield.

Arts Council England has revealed how arts and culture can help to attract people and businesses to Halifax and shape its identity.

A report by the Council examined social and economic indicators in Halifax as well as in Birmingham, Hastings, Redruth, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent, using evidence from residents, businesses and organisations including local councils and Chambers of Commerce.

In the last three years the Arts Council has invested over £5.7 million Arts Council funding in cultural activities in Halifax.

This includes support for artists; a range of arts and cultural project; for arts, museums and libraries; and for cultural organisations such as IOU Ltd, Northern Broadside Theatre Company and Square Chapel Trust.

It also includes investment in music education for children and young in Halifax, through funding to the Music Education Hub.

What did the findings show about arts and culture:

Promotes wellbeing – 65% of people think that arts and culture are good for well-being, and 36% think arts and culture are “essential to life”. People who attend a wide range of arts and cultural events are more satisfied with their lives than those who do not (even when accounting for other factors that influence life satisfaction).

Attracts a variety of people to live and work in an area – 44% of people who remained in an area and 43% who moved to an area cited arts and culture as an important factor in their decision – equal to the numbers of people citing schools. These figures were not affected by the type of job a person had, suggesting that arts and culture can help to attract a broad range of residents and workers to an area.

Helps build communities – 49% of people think attending arts and cultural events helps them feel part of a community, with 68% thinking these events are very important for fostering community feeling.

Supports high streets – Arts and cultural organisations are helping to fill the gap left as retail moves away from high streets. By offering unique experiences, these organisations are helping to attract visitors and increase footfall, promoting high streets as attractive places to live, work and visit.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England said “These figures demonstrate that people value arts and culture and that the opportunity to visit a theatre, or listen to music or borrow a book from a local library is as important a factor in their choice of where to live as the availability of good schools.

"The Report shows that public investment in the arts is helping to bring people together, promoting wellbeing, and sustaining towns and cities through the dramatic changes happening on high streets. By supporting our cultural sector we create happier, more vibrant communities where people are proud to live and work.”