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South Tyneside Launches Its Cultural Strategy

South Tyneside's vibrant new Cultural Strategy will be launched officially on Friday (4th April) with a wonderful display of music and dance and the unveiling of a spectacular piece of art.

Hundreds of people representing community, arts, heritage, voluntary and sports groups have been invited to The Customs House in South Shields for the colourful launch which will see the unveiling of Irene Brown's specially commissioned artwork (see attached note).

Called 'Catch The Spirit' the Cultural Strategy celebrates the Borough's long-standing, rich and proud heritage and aims to make South Tyneside a better place for all residents. It promotes an "all different, all equal" ethos and targets young people, the elderly and the town's diverse ethnic groups.

It was drawn up with the involvement of more than 1,000 local people all working to raise awareness and promote different traditions and cultures. It will also be used to help achieve the Council's vision of "a better future for the people in South Tyneside."

Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Waggott says: "The Cultural Strategy will ensure that leaders and partnerships in the Borough have a positive belief in the role and contribution that culture and creativity can play in the social, economic and environmental regeneration of the Borough."

Councillor Waggott adds: "Developing the cultural strategy, like everything else we do in life, involves making decisions about what is important to us, what things we value more than others. These value judgements shape the way we develop activities and services, they influence the partnerships we make and they direct our resources, financial and human.

The result of our work over the last year is the 'five strands' described in detail in the Strategy. We believe these five strands will help us to catch the spirit of culture and continue to move South Tyneside towards a better future."

Ray Spencer, Customs House Director and Cultural Spokesperson says: "We would like to see as many people as possible to mark the occasion. It will be a very colourful and memorable event."

Reporters/photographers/camera crews are very welcome to attend the launch and join the guests for the buffet and refreshments.

Date: Friday 4th April
Time: 12.45pm
Place: The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields

Irene Brown's Artwork

Irene Brown, who created the hugely popular Spirit of South Tyneside statue in South Shields, was asked to come up with a colourful work to climax the celebratory occasion.
Ms Brown, 42, a senior lecturer in sculpture at the University of Wolverhampton, has lived in Newcastle for 16 years. Her creation will consist of a celebratory piece that includes eight flexible poles with five banners on each flying from the top of the Customs House. There will be an explosive finale of blue and grey glittery spangles.

Ms Brown explained: "I've based the work on Catch The Spirit. The document outlines South Tyneside's wonderful natural assets, like the beautiful river and the coastline. It is a temporary piece that is intended to represent the sea."

'Catch the Spirit'- Cultural Strategy Launch Event, The Customs House
Friday 4th April from 1pm-3pm

Entertainment from 12.45pm (Weather dependent)
· Play and Sport activities
· Circus Skills group
· Graffiti Artists
· Kite Flying
· BBC Radio Newcastle Blue Bus

1.00pm Guests Arrive
· Registration and badge distribution
· Finger buffet and drinks will be served on arrival
· Modern string quartet to play

1.25pm Welcome by Councillor Paul Waggott, Leader of the Council

1.35pm John Grundy - Cultural Heritage

1.45pm Hindu Nari Sangh - Indian Dancing

2.00pm Jared Deacon - Value of Sport

2.05pm Gymnastics to brass band

2.10pm Andrew Dixon - Arts and Culture, Why strategy for arts and culture is so important (with special reference to South Tyneside)

2.20pm Council Chief Executive, Irene Lucas

Guest moved outside to front of Customs House

3.00pm Irene Brown Piece Unveiled (public invited to come down to the Customs House for 2.30pm)

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