ARTS and cultural organisations have come together in Wokingham to discuss their role in the economic growth of the borough.

The Wokingham borough held its second Fit for Business event at Sindlesham court on June 7. The event brought together local arts and culture organisations including More Arts, The Arts Society Wokingham and the Berkshire Film Office.

Councillor John Halsall, leader of Wokingham council, said: “Art and culture is the pursuit of happiness. As a local council and community leader, we should be looking for ways in which we can improve our residents’ happiness and wellbeing by maintaining the fantastic offerings we have now, as well as welcoming new opportunities.

“We have 17 towns and parishes, all with a different flavour, and we want to make what goes on there more accessible and apparent, especially through strong links with our businesses.”

In response to the priorities put forward by businesses last year, the council’s deputy chief executive, Graham Ebers, outlined the council-run initiatives and schemes that specifically help businesses in Wokingham, such as improving access to business support and business engagement.

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Councillor Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development, added: “Regular sessions with our businesses help us to work more effectively for them. Events like Fit for Business inform our decisions by providing suggestions for shaping new policies, by those who are directly affected by them.

“The council aims to assist businesses to help them grow, creating more jobs for our residents. This work also makes the area attractive to potential new businesses starting up or moving into the borough.”

Businesses who attended the event also took part in lively table discussions, which looked at how to grow the borough’s cultural offer including looking at how to engage young people, improve promotion of what’s already happening, and how to optimise technology to reach new audiences.

As a result of the event the council hope that a new cultural and arts strategy will be discussed at next year’s event.