Why creativity matters Policy Consultation responses & evidence-giving One of the most important aspects of Creative Lives' work, is to ensure that everyone has opportunities to be creative in their local area. We regularly respond to consultations and surveys and give evidence to help inform the decisions of local and national policy-makers, ensuring they are aware of the importance of creative activity and the need to support it. You can read Creative Lives' policy statement here, which we released in June 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. And you can read some of our recent responses here: Scottish Government's Culture Resilience Roundtable Creative Lives attended this roundtable event, attended by Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, on 18 January 2023. Mr Robertson heard about issues within the creative and cultural sector arising from the pandemic and cost of living crisis, and innovative approaches being used to sustain and develop the sector. We referenced our popular (and very over-subscribed) 'micro grants', stating how a little can go a long way with community-based creative groups. Grants of £300 have recently been used in Scotland to help groups meet rising utility bills, provide a hot meal for participants, pay for materials, and cover 'subs' for those members no longer able to afford them. Such grants can sometimes be the difference between a group continuing or not, and are a huge boost to morale. Scottish Parliament - Culture Funding In July 2022 The Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament launched a call for views to inform their Budget Scrutiny 2023-24: Funding for Culture. The Committee invited organisations like Creative Lives to share their perspective on how budgetary decisions should be made to support the recovery of the culture sector from COVID, and priorities in supporting recovery through the Budget 2023-24. In informing this process, Creative Lives shared information on the role of Culture During Covid (taken from our report of the same name), and our wider research on the role of culture in supporting wellbeing (taken from our Common Ground: Rewilding the Garden report). DCMS Committee: Reimagining where we live In January 2022 the Select Committee for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) put out an open inquiry into the role of culture in the Leveling up agenda, entitled: Reimagining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda. The Inquiry explored the role that culture might play in delivering a Government commitment to level up the country. Creatives Lives submitted a response in February 2022, which you can read here: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/106386/pdf/, and you can read the oral evidence here: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/9983/pdf/ To produce this document we consulted with the Creative Lives staff team and Board of Trustees based around the UK as well as our Creative Advisers: a panel made up of people across the UK and Ireland with a wide range of experience in the creative sector. We also included findings from our January 2022 report: Spaces for Creativity, which surveyed 200 creative groups and venues across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Significant evidence is also gleaned from our 2020 publication Common Ground: Rewilding the Garden, an investigation into how creative activity is sustained in areas of socio-economic deprivation across the UK and Republic of Ireland i.e. places that may be considered to have limited local arts infrastructure. Scottish Government - Planning Framework In March 2021 the Scottish Government consulted on the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), which sets out the Scottish Government's priorities and policies for the planning system up to 2045. You can read Creative Lives' full response to the consultation here. In this submission, we emphasised the role that community-led creative groups can play in making our communities healthier and more vibrant places to live. We championed the need for investment in spaces for people to be creative - and the need for spaces that are accessible, affordable, welcoming, and fit for purpose. We shared examples of some of our Creative Lives Awards nominees who are explicitly supporting people with their mental health and wellbeing, and articulated the conditions that help groups like these to thrive. Scottish Government Budget In August/September 2021, ahead of the Scottish Government Budget for 2022-23, the Scottish Parliament's Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee sought views on the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the culture sector, and how it should recover from the pandemic. You can read Creative Lives' full response to the consultation here The Committee subsequently published its Pre-budget scrutiny report on culture sector funding, which included this reference to Creative Lives' response: "Creative Lives said that professional expertise could kick-start a project and create some momentum but without local buy-in and capacity building, these projects tended not to last and the benefits to wellbeing were lost. Creative Lives is looking for “relatively modest” sums and light-touch application forms for community groups to flourish rather than for much-needed funds to be taken from the professional sector. They point out that 'micro grants’ of just a few hundred pounds have galvanised groups to make things happen in their local community, with a positive ripple effect beyond the group itself.” Senedd Culture Committee - Priorities for the Sixth Senedd The Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee of the Senedd was established on 23 June 2021 to examine legislation and hold the Welsh Government to account by scrutinising its expenditure and policy on matters including arts and culture. Creative Lives was asked to provide evidence to the Committee about the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts sector; and what issues the committee should prioritise for its work programme. Our response to the consultation, submitted in July 2021, emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of participation in everyday creativity for the wellbeing of individuals and communities. We enumerated the benefits of participation in creative activity; and set out our understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the voluntary arts sector. We concluded our response by looking ahead to a period of recovery and rebuilding, and emphasised the need to reconnect the disparate parts of our cultural landscape, so that everyone has the opportunity to improve their quality of life through regular participation in creative activity.