Why creativity matters Policy Consultation Responses 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 to help local and national policy-makers make informed decisions about 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: 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. In August/September 20210, 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.