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The University of Southampton

Young people in Southampton set to benefit from investment in local partnership

Published: 10 March 2021
Street art in Southampton
StreetArt! Children’s Public Art, commissioned by JHG, Southampton City Council and Go! Southampton

Southampton Cultural Education Partnership has been awarded its first large-scale investment of over £130K by Artswork to support an ambitious two-year programme set to directly benefit hundreds of children and young people across the City.

The Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) are a cross sector group of organisations working together to nurture creative and cultural education for all children and young people in Southampton. SCEP members range from small to large-scale creative, cultural and heritage organisations, schools, colleges and universities to youth-focused charities and local authority youth services. The partnership is generously supported by key organisations in the city who collectively are providing cultural education and enrichment programmes for children, young people and communities in Southampton currently with a total monetary value of £340,000, totalling £470,000 with the Better Lives investment.

The Better Lives Through Culture investment focuses specifically on engaging young people most at risk of exclusion. Working with SCEP, young people themselves will co-design a Framework for cultural learning and education. There will be a Creative Curriculum for Southampton; Creative Mentoring Training Programme for emerging artists to engage directly with young people; and opportunities for young people to build qualifications and cultural recognition through Arts Award, Digital Badges and Artsmark. This city-wide activity will develop even stronger, more sustainable cross-sector working that will support and enable even more young people to fulfil their potential in Southampton.

Louise Coysh, Interim Lead, Southampton Cultural Education Partnership and Associate Director, Arts & Culture at University of Southampton, said: “This is a game-changer - a creative programme benefitting Southampton’s children and young people and enhancing the City’s cultural and education practise. It’s the result of collaborative working with city partners and has the voices of children and young people at its centre. The investment allows us to build on work taking place across the city as well as create new opportunities and ways of working together.”

The Better Lives Through Culture investment comes from Southampton-based charity Artswork, who work to break through barriers and develop new ways for children and young people to discover, succeed and enjoy arts and creativity in classrooms, communities and careers. Artswork are funded by Arts Council England as the Bridge organisation for the South East, which has made this investment possible.

Louise Govier, CEO of Artswork said: “I am thrilled to be able to confirm this investment, which will make such a difference to children and young people’s lives in Southampton. Creativity is fundamental to our growth as individuals and as communities. As well as helping us to develop vital life skills such as problem-solving and innovation, it also makes us happy and connects us with others – think of all the wonderful rainbow creations in windows that became such a symbol of hope and support last year. SCEP have created a vibrant programme with the voices of children and young people at its heart, that will transform creative possibilities for our community. Artswork supports partnerships like this across the South; the team are really excited to be part of this brilliant work in our home-town.”

The Better Lives Through Culture investment is being made to the Southampton Cultural Education Partnership who will involve most of the city’s organisations, infrastructures and capitalise on opportunities – building on and connecting to great work like the development of Southampton’s 2025 City of Culture bid.

Councillor Darren Paffey, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said: “This investment is a fantastic opportunity for the children and young people of Southampton, helping ensure that even the most disadvantaged will be able to participate in the city’s exciting cultural future and rich heritage, both in and outside of our schools.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We congratulate Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) on this significant investment of over £130,000 from Artswork, an organisation who help to bridge the gap between schools and arts organisations. SCEP work collaboratively across the city and do exemplary work providing children and young people with creative and cultural opportunities – something that's at the heart of our 10-year strategy, Let's Create. It’s an exciting time for Southampton, and we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact this award will have for the city’s next generation.”

Notes for editors

Southampton Cultural Education Partnership

Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP) is a growing consortium of diverse organisations working together, in partnership with Artswork, to nurture creative and cultural education for all children and young people in the City.

SCEP members range from small to large-scale creative, cultural and heritage organisations, schools, colleges and universities to youth-focused charities and local authority youth services.

Better Lives Through Culture is a partnership project generously supported by Energise Me, Go! Southampton, MAST Mayflower Studios, Saints Foundation, SoCo Music Project, Southampton City Council, Southampton Music Hub and University of Southampton that collectively are providing cultural education and enrichment programmes for children, young people and communities in Southampton.


Get to know our diverse membership, with large and small organisations working alongside to promote and provide creative and cultural education for children and young people in Southampton: African Activities * Arts Asia * ArtfulScribe * Artswork * Black History Month South * Energise Me * In Focus Training and Education * John Hansard Gallery * Liam Gifford * MAST Mayflower Studios * Mayflower Theatre * Rupert Rowbotham * Saints Foundation * SeaCity Museum * SoCo Music Project * Solent Showcase Gallery * Solent University * Southampton 2025 * Southampton City Art Gallery * Southampton City Council (Children and Families, Culture, Stronger Communities) * Southampton Collective * Southampton Hub * Southampton Education Forum * Southampton Music Hub * Southampton Youth Offending Service * Theatre for Life * Tudor House and Garden * Turner Sims * Welsh national Opera * Youth Options * University of Southampton (Arts & Culture, LifeLab, Public Engagement with Research, Widening Participation and Social Inclusion) * ZoieLogic Dance Theatre

University of Southampton

University of Southampton is proud to be the Interim Lead Organisation for the SCEP and support the network through its transition phase, developing resilience and sustainability to increase access to cultural education for all children and young people in Southampton. This aligns with the University’s commitment as a Civic University.

The University of Southampton has re-confirmed its commitment to the city of Southampton and the Wider Hampshire Region by pledging to create a Civic University Agreement, which will define how it seeks to bring value to the place it is based as well as the wider world. The University will now work to produce the agreement in partnership with local authorities, communities and partner higher education institutions.


Empowering children and young people through arts and culture Artswork enables children and young people through arts and culture to find their voice, become skilled leaders and achieve their aspirations. Building strategic alliances, Artswork specialises in advocating for change and delivering positive outcomes for children and young people. A registered charity, we are a leading advocate for the importance of arts and cultural practice, we are a catalyst for developing young people’s skills and employability in the creative and cultural industries. We work to connect and collaborate across sectors to improve children and young people’s lives. We also are a source of inspiration and practical support for those engaging with young people, enhancing their expertise and building bridges between cultural and educational organisations to strengthen infrastructure, facilitate partnerships, and sustain access to the arts and culture.

Arts Council England – Let’s Create is the Arts Council’s 10 year Strategy 

Over the next decade, in our national role, we will: 

  • Build our capacity, understanding and knowledge at a local level by retaining our network of local offices, combining this with strong national intelligence. We will continue to bring together local and national decision making to ensure that we operate as an effective development agency. 
  • Establish, nurture and maintain strong partnerships – including across national and local government, in all areas of education, and with the commercial, not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.
  • Grow our expertise and capacity to support and broker more international opportunities for organisations and individuals working in culture.
  • Provide platforms for debate and support the cultural sector to learn from the best new ideas from around the world.
  • React quickly and effectively to national and local opportunities and challenges.
  • Strive to be relevant and responsive to the public, the cultural sector and the places that we are here to serve, by listening and giving voice to a wide a range of people, including young people.
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