The national Find Your Talent programme was an early victim of cuts in the government’s emergency budget of June 2010. This was part of the ‘in year’ cuts offered up to the Treasury by DCMS, and meant that we were ordered to stop making any new financial commitments with partners straight away. We were also instructed to give all FYT staff immediate notice. We were also required cancel or scale back as much planned and contracted work as possible to maximise savings.
Following a process of negotiation, DCMS approved a final spending plan for FYT in Leeds which allowed a phased closure of the programme. Many individual projects were still completed, although sadly many activities which were in planning stage were lost to the city.
It was always key to FYT in Leeds to build some permanent tools and to establish new relationships that would help the arts and educational sectors to support young people’s cultural development into the future. During the last few months of FYT, the team sought ways to continue the various networking groups established through the programme, and many of these have continued well into 2011. Practical tools like the Breeze Culture Network also remain in place.
Find Your Talent in Leeds sought to improve access to cultural opportunity for children and young people by listening to what they wanted, establishing new relationships between partners, and providing tools to help their work. There are many achievements to be proud of, including those of thousands of young people across the city. Many of these have been captured in our publications as well as on the pages of this blog.
My personal thanks go to the wonderful Leeds Find Your Talent team, to all of our young participants whose talent were our constant inspiration, and to each of our hard working professional partners who continue to shape and support the city’s cultural future.
Jon Price, Programme Manager, Leeds FYT 2009-2011