THREE dynamic new strategies have been unveiled with the aim of making Neath Port Talbot a nationally recognised destination with a high-quality, accessible offer of sport, heritage, arts and culture.
The Neath Port Talbot Culture Strategy, Draft Heritage Strategy, and Destination Management Plan have all been developed following extensive engagement with communities, stakeholders, and partner organisations.
The Destination Management Plan and Culture Strategy were adopted by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 where it was also agreed the Draft Heritage Strategy, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will go out to public consultation.
Cllr Cen Phillips, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Nature, Tourism and Wellbeing said: “Our culture and heritage shape who we are today. Together they form part of the DNA which makes our place and our people.
“Our culture and heritage are important in their own right, but the strategies recognise their potential for delivering a much wider range of benefits for improving wellbeing and quality of life, for nurturing talent and skills, for creating identity pride and for generating prosperity and opportunity.
“Our Let’s Talk campaign told us that these issues really matter to local people and we have therefore set this as a priority in these strategies in response to that feedback.”
The key themes for the Culture strategy are:
Energy – Continuing to celebrate both traditional and new industries in our energetic creative communities.
Welsh at Heart – Our Welsh heritage is important to both Welsh and English speakers and our story is deeply rooted and beautifully reflects the wider story of Wales.
Wellness – Employing the power of culture to support people’s health, fitness and joy in life.
Talent – recognising our amazing people are Neath Port Talbot’s greatest asset.
Delivering the strategies will require strong leadership, good governance and above all – close collaboration with partners. The Council will help to build a Cultural Partnership in Neath Port Talbot with local businesses, education providers and cultural and community leaders all playing important roles.
One of the keys to success will be making Neath Port Talbot’s strong culture and heritage accessible, inclusive, and sustainable involving better interpretation and storytelling and protecting and preserving the area’s cultural and heritage assets.
The strategies demand Neath Port Talbot’s story is told in Welsh, English and languages spoken by visitors to the area. We also want to explicitly mark the contribution and culture of people who have settled here from other places.
The council will offer leadership to help a wide range of partners and stakeholders to realise the ambitions of the three strategies.
Cllr Phillips added: “We want to work with volunteers, community groups, the wider public sector and the private sector to achieve our collective ambition – this will be very much a team effort.”
The strategies will be officially launched later this year.