Since Councillor Sutters took over the culture portfolio in May 2018, as part of her wider responsibilities as Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces, she has spearheaded the transformation of the council’s approach to culture. A staunch advocate for culture, she has been championing embedding cultural opportunity into the borough’s two new council housing regeneration areas in Roehampton and Winstanley, as well as in the Nine Elms regeneration area. She has advocated for the importance of culture not only within the council, but also with the developers on the various joint ventures, ensuring that they take the integration of cultural provision and infrastructure seriously.
Councillor Sutters is encouraging this to grow and for more local groups and other council teams to participate. A good example of how she is building new partnerships is her decision to work closely with the portfolio for Adult Social Care and Health in the last year. They have been driving a new emphasis of looking at how the council can tackle social isolation and encourage people to live more active and healthy lives.
Examples of activities that have taken place include: This year’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe launched a new cross artform school engagement programme and ended up working with 16 primary schools and one after school club over the spring term or the launch of tea dances, as part of the annual celebration of Silver Sunday on Sunday 6 October. More than 250 people danced the afternoon away, and the impact of this low scale event on local people was immediate.
What the judges said:
‘Exciting opportunities ahead to bring in arts professionals as Cllr Sutters looks to connect culture to other strategies in the local communities.’
‘Wandsworth Borough Council has hugely benefited from having Steffi Sutters as a councillor. In just a short space of time after taking over the culture portfolio in May 2018, she has transformed the council’s approach to culture and moved the arts up the agenda to make positive changes in improving the lives of residents. Keep up the incredible work!’