South Tyneside has a long-standing, rich and proud cultural heritage. The Cultural Plan 'Catch the Spirit' aims to make South Tyneside a better place for all residents. In particular the strategy targets those groups who might have missed opportunities to participate in cultural activity - young people, the elderly and the town's diverse ethnic groups.
Barbara Hughes Executive Director of Lifelong Learning and Leisure led the development of the strategy and says: "The strategy aims to promote an all different, all equal ethos throughout the Borough. It will assist the Council and its partners in setting priorities for cultural development over the next five years. We will be looking at exciting and innovative ways to celebrate diversity as part of the strategy."
Dr Shobha Srivastava who is chair of South Tyneside-based Hindu Nari Sangh and vice chair of the Racial Equalities Forum, said: "The cultural diversity in South Tyneside is something to celebrate. It is important that everyone has the opportunity to share and learn about all the different cultures in the Borough.
She continued: "The Hindu Nari Sangh organisation has organised successful events which have enabled people to share a medley of different cultures from Traditional Indian dancing to classical piano recitals." Ray Spencer cultural spokesperson and Director of the Customs House adds: "It is wonderful to see so many community groups working to raise awareness and promote equality through providing opportunities to experience black and minority ethnic traditions and cultures amongst the wider community."
Catch The Spirit will be officially launched in April when traditional Indian dancing and other activities will be performed. The 48-page document has been drawn up with the involvement of more than 1,000 people representing a wide diversity of interests throughout South Tyneside. South Tyneside Council, arts and cultural organisations, community groups, heritage and sporting bodies have all been involved. Feedback from individuals and organisations is welcomed. The document can be obtained from libraries, leisure centres and other attractions in South Tyneside or by telephoning Heather Walton or Richard Barber on 427 7850. The document can also be viewed on-line at www.southtyneside.info
The census is a count of all people and households in the UK. It is the most complete source of information about the population. The latest Census was held on Sunday 29th April 2001 and results have just become available. Census results for South Tyneside can be viewed at www.statistics.gov.uk For further details on the Cultural Strategy contact Heather Walton or Richard Barber on 424 7850.