Economic Regeneration & Leisure

16 June 2020


Kent Arts & Wellbeing


Final Decision-Maker

Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee

Lead Head of Service

John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Ann-Marie Langley




Wards affected



Executive Summary


A review of the proposals outlined in Mr Ken Scott’s presentation, researching how creative activity benefits individuals and disadvantaged groups and how the Council might work with Kent Arts & Wellbeing.


Purpose of Report





This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the Council supports Kent Arts & Wellbeing in their funding application and subsequent project delivery






Committee (please state)


Kent Arts & Wellbeing








Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:


·         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

·         Safe, Clean and Green

·         Homes and Communities

·         A Thriving Place


Accepting the recommendation will materially improve the Council’s ability to achieve ‘A Thriving Place’ through supporting a high quality arts initiative for residents.


Accepting the recommendation will materially improve the Council’s ability to achieve ‘Homes and Communities’ by providing opportunities for people with chaotic lifestyles, and other targeted groups, to engage in arts activities, which may also contribute to improved health and wellbeing.

John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:


·         Heritage is Respected

·         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

·         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

·         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected


The report recommendation supports the achievement of the ‘Health Inequalities are addressed and reduced’ cross-cutting objective by supporting activities that seek to reduce social isolation and deliver improvements in physical and mental health for target groups.


The report recommendation supports the achievement of the ‘Deprivation and Social Mobility is improved’ cross cutting objective by supporting activities that address specific barriers to participation and provide opportunities for people to develop their skills.


John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development

Risk Management

Refer to paragraph 5 of this report


John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development


The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings and so need no new funding for implementation.

Section 151 Officer & Paul Holland, Senior Finance Manager


We will deliver the recommendation with our current staffing.

John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development


It is a function of the Economic Regeneration  and Leisure Committee to take the lead within the Council for ensuring that the Council delivers its strategic objectives with respect to Maidstone as a decent place to live by providing opportunities for engagement in cultural and leisure pursuits and, therefore, it falls to this Committee to consider the recommendation in this report.

Keith Trowell, Team Leader (Corporate Governance), MKLS

Privacy and Data Protection

Accepting the recommendation will not increase the volume of data held by the Council. 

Anna Collier, Policy and Information Manager


The recommendation does not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

Orla Sweeney, Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

Public Health


We recognise that the recommendation will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals

Paul Clarke Senior Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

The recommendation of this report has no impact on Crime and Disorder

John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development


Accepting the recommendation will not require the Council to engage in any procurement exercises.

John Foster, Head of Regeneration & Economic Development





1.1     Mr Ken Scott of Kent Arts & Wellbeing (KAAW) gave a short presentation to the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee on 26 November 2019. The full presentation is attached at Appendix 1.


1.2     This report is a review of the proposals put forward in the presentation, examining how creative activity can benefit individuals and disadvantaged groups and how the Council might work with KAAW.


1.3     The proposals form part of a larger Kent-wide Strategic Programme covering 4 localities, based on the new Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) areas. Maidstone would represent the West Kent ICP.


1.4     The proposals request a commitment from the Council to:

1.4.1   support a funding application

1.4.2   provide support in selecting areas of activity

1.4.3   support the areas of activity on a non-financial basis






3.1     The Committee may choose not to support the proposals. This is not recommended as it will result in missed opportunities to provide access to high quality arts activities for target groups, and the potential health and wellbeing benefits associated with participation.


3.2     The Committee may choose to support the proposals.


There is a growing body of evidence highlighting the health and social benefits associated with participation in arts and cultural activities.


KAAW is proposing to launch a choir for the homeless/people with chaotic lifestyles. There is a proven model, ‘The Choir with No Name’, which currently runs in Liverpool, London and Brighton. They have measured the impact on participants, and these are some of the results from 2019:


·         94% of members feel like they have made friends at the choir

·         90% of members say they feel more confident as a result of choir

·         81% of members report an improvement in their mental health since joining the choir

·         82% of members felt choir helped them achieve at least one positive change in their lives, including securing accommodation, better management of addiction or finding a job

·         84% of members said they had learned at least one new skill, apart from singing, including teamwork, social skills, tolerance


There is also evidence to suggest that singing can improve physical health through increased exercise, better breathing techniques and posture.


Participation in arts and cultural activities can help to reduce social isolation.


KAAW is not seeking financial assistance from the Council. The only commitment would be officer time to support delivery in the event of a successful funding bid. This will be limited to assisting in identifying areas of higher deprivation and communities of interest to participate in the project, and other support as may be required during the delivery phase.





4.1   Option 3.2 is the preferred option as this will support KAAW to deliver a high quality arts programme for residents.



5.       RISK

5.1    The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Council’s Risk Management Framework. That consideration is shown in this report at paragraph 3.  We are satisfied that the risks associated are within the Council’s risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.




6.1     The Arts & Culture Officer met with officers from the Community Outreach team to gauge likely levels of interest amongst their service users. The Outreach team felt that it would be of interest to a sufficient number to make it viable and they would be happy to assist in identifying participants.






7.1     The next steps will be for the Arts & Culture Officer to notify KAAW of the Council’s decision to support their funding bid and to prepare a letter of support at the appropriate time.


7.2     Subject to a successful funding bid, the Arts & Culture Officer will then work with colleagues to identify suitable areas and target communities of interest to work with KAAW.






·         Appendix 1: Kent Arts & Wellbeing Presentation

·         Appendix 2: Equality Impact Assessment