GUEST COLUMN: Membership continues to rise for new Inspire organisation, by Coun John Knight

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More than 20,000 people have already become members of Nottinghamshire County Council’s new cultural organisation Inspire which launched today.

The county council is the first in the Midlands to set up an organisation to manage its libraries, archives, learning and cultural services across the county and began recruitment in November, which stands at 20,818 members to date.

Inspire is a community benefit society, with charitable status, giving people a greater stake in the running of their local library and other cultural and learning services. While there are several other community benefit societies already operating in the UK, Inspire is unique in the size and range of services it will provide.

People join a community benefit society in the same way they join a co-operative or a voluntary organisation. Benefits of Inspire membership include:

• An Inspire membership newsletter with special offers, discounts on events and an invitation to its annual general meeting.

• People will get a greater say in the management of the organisation and a direct stake in the future of services.

• The organisation has the opportunity to seek additional funding streams from the likes of lotteries and grants.

We have a proud record of running modern, popular and accessible library and cultural services across the county. Inspire provides an exciting opportunity for these services to be even more enterprising and creative to achieve benefits for local communities now, and for future generations.

Day to day business for its cultural services will remain the same when Inspire takes on the management role, and people can still use these cultural services without joining Inspire – but is keen for everyone to sign up!

Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Alan Rhodes said: “Inspire will give people a greater say – and a direct stake – in the running of cultural services. We have always been passionate about our cultural services across Nottinghamshire, backed by investment and underlined by their popularity in our communities, and we think Inspire presents an exciting future for everyone.”

Inspire will deliver the following services on behalf of the county council: public libraries, archives, arts, Instrumental Music Teaching in schools, Community Learning and Skills Service, Nottinghamshire Music Hub and the Education Library Service.

Membership is free and simple to register. Find out more at www.inspireculture.org.uk.