Bath & North East Somerset Council supports a range of arts organisations and activities in order to achieve the objectives of the Cultural & Creative Strategy 2015-2020, Priority Theme 5, Audiences and engagement (p8).

These are:
  • Addressing the participation gap within specific communities in B&NES.
  • Promoting engagement in volunteering.
  • Using arts activity to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Gathering audience data and insights to measure and deepen audience experience, and increase participation.
  • Promoting arts activities in B&NES to the West of England, national, and international audiences, where appropriate.



1. Commissioned Arts Development Services 

2. Contributions to external organisations supporting the arts


1.  Commissioned Arts Development Services

During 2017/18 the Council commissioned arts services and activities in two target areas of the district; Foxhill, Bath and the Somer Valley. These are areas that have higher indices of multiple deprivation and where participation in the existing arts offer has remained persistently low.

Through increased engagement in the arts, this initiative seeks to build social capital, making participants more aware of the wider community around them and more active within that community, reducing isolation and fostering a sense of collective responsibility that enables residents to more easily identify and resolve problems. 

This initiative will directly address the barriers to participation that exist in each area and will work closely with the local community to devise a new arts programme that is accessible, relevant and engaging. 

The initiative has the following five aims:

  • engaging more local people in the arts
  • empowering young people and, by association, families
  • creating positive health outcomes, particularly on mental health and personal resilience
  • enabling individual learning and skills development
  • celebrating and showcasing the achievements of participants

The Council is working in partnership with other organisations, including Curo Homes and Bath College, to better achieve these aims.

The project partners believe that the arts are a powerful tool for change in the lives of individuals and communities. It believes that through engagement in the arts, people can be empowered to make changes in their lives that will positively affect their health, personal resilience, self-confidence, skills and employability. This partnership will work to ensure that residents derive benefit from having a positive and meaningful engagement with arts and culture.

The contractors will deliver arts programmes devised in partnership with the local community that will:

  • be of high artistic quality
  • be comprised of imaginative, inspiring activities that are developmental in nature
  • engage local residents of all ages
  • involve active participation
  • support and encourage residents to try new experiences as audience members
  • enable individual learning
  • build on residents’ existing skills and interests
  • signpost to paths for progression

The following three contracts were awarded through an open tendering process.

Contract ref: C1 - Arts Services: Foxhill
Contract fee:
Awarded to: a consortium of the following three arts organisations
Bath Dance
Creativity Works
Kilter Theatre Company

Contract details:
This contract focuses on increasing the level of engagement and participation in the arts in the Foxhill, Bath. Though it lies within the City of Bath World Heritage Site footprint, Foxhill is an area of significant deprivation in an otherwise affluent city.

  • It is within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England for health
  • There is a particularly high level of ill health among children and young people
  • 22% of population are claiming out of work benefits
  • 31% of adult population have no qualifications
  • Many residents are far removed from the labour market
  • There is particularly high unemployment among the over 50s

The services provided under this contract will deliver a range of artistic, social and community development outcomes.


Contract ref: C2 - Arts Services: Somer Valley

Contract fee: £26,500

Awarded to: Natural Theatre Company

Contract details:
This contract focuses on increasing the level of engagement and participation in the arts in the Somer Valley, which lies to the south of the district. It consists of eight electoral wards; two towns and six parishes, and has a population of approximately 40,000.

There are four wards within the Somer Valley that are within the most deprived 40% nationally. Also, three wards have a greater proportion of people with a limiting long-term illness than the average for England & Wales (17.92%).

The services provided under this contract will deliver a range of artistic, social and community development outcomes.


Contract ref: C3 - Evaluation
Contract fee: £5,000
Awarded to: Nell Farrally

Contract details:

The role of the evaluator is to provide independent review and assessment of impacts and outcomes across both the target areas. The evaluation should identify what is common to each place and what is distinct or different.

The evaluator will:

  • Work with the project partners and arts contractors to devise and agree a methodology for evaluation and robust data collection methods at the outset of the project
  • ensure that the evaluation process is not intrusive to the delivery of activities or the experience of the participants
  • involve participants, staff, volunteers, the community, and audiences in the evaluation process
  • report regularly to project stakeholders
  • produce a final evaluation report for circulation to project stakeholders


The following contract was awarded to Creativity Works as a direct commission on the grounds of their being a unique supplier. 

Creativity Works is based in B&NES (Radstock) and has: 

  • the required level of detailed and specific local knowledge relevant to this initiative
  • recognised expertise in socially engaged, community arts practice
  • extensive experience of developing arts activity that address health, mental health and wellbeing issues 

Contract ref: C4 - Arts Services: Cultural Producer
Contract fee: £10,000

Contract details:
The role of the Cultural Producer is to support the target communities to acquire the skills and confidence needed to play an active and authoritative role in shaping the cultural life of their local area.

The Cultural Producer will work with key individuals in each of the target communities who will act as 'Co-creators'. Throughout the project these Co-creators will be the conduit for the views of local residents, helping to ensure that the project's artistic programme meets the needs of the community. The aim is that by the end of the project, the communities will have gained the enthusiasm, skills and confidence to continue to develop the artistic programme themselves.


A further sum of £500 is allocated for audio-visual documentation of the project.

All the above contracts were initially awarded for one year (2017/18) and renewable for a further year subject to satisfactory performance and Council budget-setting. 

The total sum invested in commissioned arts services during 2017/18 is £80,000. 

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2.  Contributions to external organisations supporting the arts

Keynsham Town Council
Contribution: £7,500 to support Keynsham Town Council's own arts development activity. It supports a range of arts services including a small arts grants scheme and a programme of live music and arts events in Keynsham Memorial Park. The budget is overseen by Keynsham Arts Joint Committee which is comprised of Keynsham Town Councillors, Bath and North East Somerset Councillors,  B&NES Council Arts Development Officers and independent advisors from the local arts sector.

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