Substantial benefits of cultural trust outlined by council

The Heart of Hawick.
The Heart of Hawick.

MOVING the council’s cultural services to a trust will help with building maintenance, improved bookings and enable services to be run on a more commercial basis, Councillor Vicky Davidson has said.

The council agreed the proposal at a meeting last week, with a full business case and detailed work on what services and buildings will transfer to the trust to be carried out in due course.

It is hoped that the trust will be launched by October 2015.

Councillor Davidson, executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities added: “Cultural services provides a range of important and valuable community services from museums and libraries to arts development and community halls.

“I therefore welcome the council’s approval to take forward proposals that offer the best solution for securing their long term future.”

She added: “In addition, the culture trust option has the potential to draw in new sources of funding and this added investment will be of significant benefit for all the people who use these buildings and services.”

Savings will be achieved for the council by the transfer of cultural services to a trust, as it will be able to benefit from non-domestic rates remission of up to 95 per cent.

Consultation on the proposal will take place while the final plans are worked up, with meetings specifically to be held with community centre management committees.

Members were told that lease agreements would be established in cases where services are run by outside organisations or community groups in buildings that are transferred to the trust.