Hampshire County Council to save money by giving centres to trust

The Hampshire Cultural Trust Chairman Alan C Lovell, chief executive Dr Janet Owen and south-east Hampshire area manager Annabel Cook. Picture: Malcolm Wells
The Hampshire Cultural Trust Chairman Alan C Lovell, chief executive Dr Janet Owen and south-east Hampshire area manager Annabel Cook. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Haverhill's Family Christmas Night (as pictured from last year) takes place on Friday, December 1. Picture by Andy Mayes.

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MUSEUMS, galleries and arts centres have been taken over by a trust in a bid to boost cultural offerings in the county, as well as making it a destination for arts and culture.

Buildings, assets and collections belonging to the Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council will be leased to the Hampshire Cultural Trust, which took over the lease of Ashcroft Arts Centre, in Obsborn Road, Fareham, on Saturday.

The move will save money for both councils by placing responsibility for all sites under one charitable trust.

Janet Owen, executive officer of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting time for arts and culture in Hampshire.

‘The county has so much to offer culturally, both to residents and visitors, and our aim is to build on the fantastic success of what is already on our doorstep and elevate our portfolio into something world-class that has the power to transform people’s lives.’

As a larger organisation, the trust will be able to generate additional investment, have access to external grants and donations and therefore reduce dependency on local authority funding.

Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: ‘We are very proud of Hampshire’s heritage and all that our museums service has achieved in looking after its world class collections and unique heritage.

‘I am delighted that Hampshire’s museums, arts and cultural services have this opportunity to grow and flourish, bringing in more visitors to the local economy at the same time as being able to offer more for residents.’

Hampshire Cultural Trust will work with 23 venues, which include The Gallery at Gosport Discovery Centre, Museum on the Mezzanine at Gosport Discovery Centre, SEARCH at Gosport Discovery Centre, Westbury Manor Museum, Fareham and the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham, to boost their offerings, increase visitor numbers and make them more profitable.

All staff will be transferred to the employment of the trust.

It is hoped the move will safeguard the long-term future of the cultural venues for future generations.

The trust will also work in partnership with other bodies to support The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, Havant. To find out more go to hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk