Labour deputy leader visits Corby on arts and culture mission

Tom Watson joins an art class with teacher Fanoulla Gergiou and Dinah Kazakoff (gallery director)

Tom Watson joins an art class with teacher Fanoulla Gergiou and Dinah Kazakoff (gallery director)

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Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson visited Corby this week to see how the town preserves access to arts and culture.

Mr Watson, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, came to the town on Thursday (February 2) as part of his communities for culture taskforce which is looking at devolution in arts and culture.

Deputy leader of the Labout Party Tom Watson MP visited the Rooftop Gallery in Corby as part of a factfinding tour of the UK seeing the provision of sport, cuture and art

Deputy leader of the Labout Party Tom Watson MP visited the Rooftop Gallery in Corby as part of a factfinding tour of the UK seeing the provision of sport, cuture and art

Figures produced by Mr Watson’s team have found that local councils across England have on average cut their spending on culture and heritage by £483,000 since 2010/11.

But in that time Corby Council has actually increased its culture and heritage spending by £146,000 – an increase of 22 per cent.

Mr Watson said: “It’s fantastic to come to Corby and see the results of the hard work of the council and local people to prioritise arts and culture.

“The Core theatre and experimental studio situated at the centre of civic life in the town is a brilliant platform for local talent and has really driven engagement in the arts.

“One of my priorities is to make sure culture is accessible to everyone across the country, particularly working class communities.

“The work Corby has done on this is a stellar example to other councils across the country.”

Mr Watson visited the Rooftop Gallery and the Core Theatre before being shown around the leisure quarter and the international pool.

He also met Cllr John McGhee, lead member for community on the council, Chris Stephenson, head of culture and leisure Services and Nick Walker, director of the Core Theatre.