Plans are being prepared to secure a promising future for Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot.

A report will be presented before South Oxfordshire District Council's Cabinet on February 15, establishing strategies for the arts centre intending to maximise its community benefit and support its long-term viability.

The report outlines an 18-month action plan for the centre dedicated to enhancing internal operations.

The plan includes the introduction of an Arts and Culture Strategy, alongside practical measures such as enhancing show programming, forging closer relationships with the community and local businesses, and further presentation of the centre through improved signage, marketing, and branding.

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, cabinet member for community wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Arts, culture, and heritage play an important part in improving quality of life, community wellbeing, and social connection.

"Our action plan shows our commitment to securing an even brighter and exciting future for Cornerstone Arts Centre.

"This is to maximise community benefit and financial efficiency, and to establish the long-term sustainability of the centre.

“Whilst financial efficiency is a focus for improvement, the arts centre is a valuable public service and part of our ongoing, long-term commitment to investing in arts and culture for the wellbeing of our communities.

“Once our action plan is embedded, we can turn our attention to longer-term options – but for now, we have our sights set on some very clear goals to get us where we need to be.”

The council's efforts are set within broader national challenges that all arts and culture facilities are facing, including the aftermath of COVID-19, the ongoing cost of living crisis, and the effects of inflation.

Over the past four years, the council has introduced several changes to the delivery of its arts service.

These measures have included the commissioning of external expert reviews, incorporating externally funded activities, and a significant decarbonisation project.

Ms Filipova-Rivers added: "Alongside this important focus on Cornerstone, we will also develop a district-wide Art and Culture strategy.

"We will seek the views of residents and all our stakeholders on this.

“The development of a vision for arts and culture will help steer our future role and direction, help us to understand how we can better support partners and create a way forward for the wider arts, culture and heritage sector in South Oxfordshire.”

The arts centre has served as a hub for the arts and the community across the district for more than a decade.

Cornerstone has advocated wellbeing for the residents by providing a programme of cost-effective live performances, activities, classes, as well as exhibitions and outreach work.