GUEST COLUMN: New direction for some of county counil’s leisure services, by Coun John Knight

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Inspire has signed contracts with the county council to take on the management of some of its cultural, learning and library services.

Inspire is a community benefit society which is part of an innovative strategy led by the county council to manage some of its cultural services, and will start operating in April.

The county council’s cultural services have a track record of inspiring people to achieve, learn and develop, whether through a love of reading, music, the arts or education, and Inspire promises to deliver day-to-day business as usual for everyone who uses its services.

Inspire will give people a greater say in the way libraries, archives, arts and adult learning are managed. Around 18,000 people have already signed up to Inspire since it launched its membership drive in November.

In our libraries alone, we host 7,000 events each year offering something to appeal to everyone. Our Rattle, Rhyme and Roll sessions for example, promote the value and fun of rhyme to young children.

All of our cultural, learning and library services are engaging and enriching. Inspire has had a great response to its membership appeal and it promises business as usual for all of our cultural services that everyone knows and enjoys across our communities every week.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader, Councillor Alan Rhodes, said: “We have always been passionate about our cultural services across Nottinghamshire, backed by investment and underlined by their popularity in our communities.

“It is a hugely significant moment that contracts have now been signed for the future management of these services. Inspire is the first organisation of its kind in the region which will give people greater say – and a direct stake – in the running of cultural services such as libraries, archives and our education and arts programmes, promising an exciting future for these services.”

Inspire will deliver the following services on behalf of the county council: public libraries, archives, arts, Instrumental Music Teaching in schools, Community Learning and Skills Service, Nottinghamshire Music Hub and the Education Library Service.

People can still use these cultural services without joining Inspire – but it is keen for everyone to sign up! It is free to join Inspire and benefits include an Inspire membership newsletter with special offers, discounts on events and an invitation to its annual general meeting. Find out more at www.inspireculture.org.uk