About Medway Cultural Education Partnership

MCEP is a Local Cultural Education Partnership, originally formed in 2015 with the support of the Royal Opera House Bridge. It aspires to bring together all those with an interest in working to improve the lives of all children and young people in Medway through arts and culture.

The establishment of Local Cultural Education Partnerships is an initiative of Arts Council England that encourages stakeholders in the cultural education of young people within a particular area to collaborate, share resources and thinking, and to build stronger strategic relationships.   

Our Mission

“We create better collaborations between the cultural, education and youth sectors in Medway to increase the creativity, learning and life chances for more of our children and young people”.

Our Vision

”An inspirational, high quality cultural education is available to all children and young people in Medway”

Implicit in the wording of both mission and vision statements is the recognition that not all children and young people in Medway have equal access to the creative and cultural opportunities available locally.  The partnership will therefore prioritise the needs of under-served young people in Medway and, as a first step, conduct research to map the existing local cultural offer and identify the places in Medway which need more targeted provision.

The MCEP Steering Group oversees the development of a partnership approach to ensuring that all children and young people in Medway experience a high quality cultural education.

The partnership has already achieved some success, securing investment from Royal Opera House Bridge and Medway Council to develop a strategic plan and delivery model for the Medway area, including delivery of an enlightening transition pilot project and collaborating with  the Isle of Sheppey Cultural Education Partnership on a successful major bid to the DCMS that established the Theatre 31 programme.

Key beneficiaries  

There are three key groups of interlinked beneficiaries of MCEP’s work

  • Under-served young people in Medway aged 0-25
  • Teachers and schools in Medway, being delivered through Medway Creative Schools Network (MCSN)
  • Cultural and creative organisations and practitioners in Medway

MCEP’s key role

The most important elements of MCEP’s role are:   

  • A local connector, supporter and broker of relationships between young people and the education and cultural sectors in Medway and making better use of the partnership’s individual and collective resources and Medway’s cultural assets.
  • An agent for change – helping to ensure there is greater equity in young people’s access to cultural education opportunities in Medway
  • As a researcher and innovator – identifying gaps in existing provision and finding creative ways to address them.
  • Over time, as the evidence base of MCEP’s work grows, as an awareness builder and advocate for the value of cultural education work in the development of children and people in Medway.

About Medway

Medway is one of the largest conurbations in the South East, outside London, with a population of around 280,000 which is projected to grow. This has been a place of significance for thousands of years because of its strategic location as a crossing point on the River Medway; Rochester Castle, Rochester Cathedral and Chatham Dockyard were built for that very reason.

The towns making up Medway are Chatham, Rochester, Gillingham, Strood and Rainham. Large parts of the area are green and rural with a number of parks, seven of which are green flag accredited and Medway is part of the environmentally important North Kent Marshes on the extensive Hoo Peninsula to the north.

Medway has a diverse and rapidly growing business base with a focus on high value technology, engineering, manufacturing, cultural and creative, knowledge intensive companies. Innovation is at the heart of Medway’s future and is being supported by state-of-the-art facilities across the area linked to the universities, all helping start-up businesses.

With superb connections to London and Europe, Medway is part of the Thames Gateway and home to the University of Greenwich, University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University for the Creative Arts. This is a young and vibrant community that is destined for big things.

About Local Cultural Education Partnerships

Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEP) were launched by Arts Council England in October 2015 to help meet the Cultural Education Challenge.

LCEPs are innovative partnerships between cultural providers, educational institutions and local authorities that aim to join-up and improve cultural education provision for children and young people in their town, city, county or region.

Cultural Education Partnerships are flexible and are able respond to local needs and circumstances. To be effective, they should comprise as wide a range as possible of arts, cultural and heritage providers, music education hubs, schools, and higher education institutions, local authorities – and employers. They take the long view, planning for the future and seeking to make sustainable change in their communities.

Royal Opera House supports the development of LCEPs in the North Kent region.