22nd February 2021 | Covid-19

Positive impact of the arts in Surrey highlighted in new Report

Evidence of the positive economic impact and social benefit that arts activities bring to communities right across Surrey is contained in a newly published research report conducted by the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey. The study – which recognises the central role of the arts in improving community welfare – was commissioned by the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, The Lightbox Gallery and Museum at Woking, and Watts Gallery Artists Village at Compton, and conducted between March and July 2020. 

It is the first time these well-respected arts organisations have worked together to examine the impact and benefit of their work on local communities and on tourism. The research found that nearly 70% of visitors would not have visited the areas otherwise, indicating the importance of the existence of these organisations and their notable contribution to local footfall and spend. For every £10 spent at these venues, the local economy benefits, on average, by a further spend of up to £13.28, mainly in retail, and food and drink sectors.  Critically, the study also confirms that arts organisations offer their specialist knowledge and expertise to support the social inclusion, health and wellbeing, education and creation of community identity within the region. By delivering a wide range of engagement activities that directly increase community engagement with the arts, they connect with the needs of vulnerable groups and those who might otherwise remain physically distanced from arts sites.

On behalf of the three commissioning partners, Director and CEO of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Joanna Read said: “As artists and creative people, we see the power of the arts in transforming our communities every day, bringing together the lonely, the vulnerable and voiceless, giving well-being and confidence to many. This study now empirically demonstrates this impact and enables us to shine a light on the wider value of our work.”

You can access the full report here

The Executive Summary can be read here

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