An historic Regional Cultural Strategy aimed at increasing Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford’s visibility nationally and internationally, improving tourism and contributing to economic development has been officially launched.. The strategy is an over-arching framework focusing on culture-led development and regeneration for the Three Sisters region. This is the first time a single cultural strategy has been adopted by three different local authorities.
Some of the central objectives of the strategy include working with Irelands Ancient East to deliver a 15% increase in visitor numbers by 2025, the support of micro-businesses and creating effective cross-agency supports for business development. Another key aspect is to ensure that the voice of the community is strong in cultural development in the region, and that the voice of the young, old, disadvantaged and minority communities is incorporated in cultural planning and development.
The framework was developed as part of the Three Sisters overall cultural programme in its bid to win the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) title for 2020. The ECoC is a major cultural initiative of the European Union. Significantly, the Regional Cultural Strategy will govern cultural development in the Three Sisters region until 2025, whether or not it is successful in its bid.
Commenting on the official launch, Three Sisters Bid Director Michael Quinn said “This historic strategy is an embodiment of the Three Sisters ethos that we are stronger and better together. It is a joint approach to improving the quality of life of our citizens and creating a region where their talents are supported and maximised. This framework will also work towards building a creative and knowledge economy, where there is an emphasis on generating and attracting higher value jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors.”
The historic launch follows unanimous agreement in May across Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford local authorities to adopt the Regional Cultural Strategy. The official launch took place in Waterford at the Mayor’s Parlour on Tuesday 7th June.
Also contained in the strategy is a ‘social contract for health and well-being.’ This includes improving access to culture in health settings, and resourcing research into more holistic healthcare which incorporates culture and creativity. Other aims include the establishment of regional expertise on applying for European Commission and other funding streams for cultural players and groups in the region.
Mr Quinn continued “We have created an opportunity for our region to re-imagine its future and to evolve into an area where all generations, especially our youth, will have a desirable place in which to live and work. The Regional Cultural Strategy is a legacy for our future generations. I would like to thank the numerous people and organisations who worked with us to develop the Strategy from right across the region and from education, community, culture and business backgrounds.”
It comes as the Three Sisters enters its final four weeks of preparation for the ECoC’s panel visit. Following an interview on July 14th the panel will make its decision on July 15th. If Three Sisters is awarded the title, the €31 million to be invested in the cultural programme will yield €170 million for the region. Three Sisters is competing against Galway and Limerick for the title.
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