It is 2040 and Glasgow has just topped several European happiness indexes. However, is it a hopeful statement or something that could become a reality?

A vibrant Glasgow with a growing and diverse population living healthy, happy and fulfilling lives. A city with streets filled with families, students and older people from diverse cultures and backgrounds

These are just some of the ambitions contained in the report, A Partnership for Working, which suggests a transformation of how public services are funded and delivered.

Read more: Glasgow’s cultural assets need to be re-prioritised to help aid nation’s recovery

Produced by Glasgow Life, the arms-length organisation which runs culture and leisure services for Glasgow City Council, it presents a vision of a city which any Glasgow citizen would be proud to live in and call home.

Even before the covid pandemic struck, the report recognised that a new way of working and funding key culture and leisure programmes could boost public health and the economy.

HeraldScotland: A new funding deal could lead to a bold visionA new funding deal could lead to a bold vision

Just months before lockdown, Glasgow Life initiated the report and began early discussions regarding its feasibility with Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Scottish Enterprise, as well as with senior culture and public health ministers and civil servants within both the Scottish and UK Governments, before the pandemic brought everything to a halt.

Now Glasgow’s culture and leisure services face a crisis point as the impact of covid takes its toll on Glasgow Life’s ability to operate.

As part of our A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign, The Herald believes this is the time for a new funding model for Glasgow – one that enables the city to emerge from the pandemic stronger and which secures its cultural assets for generations to come.

A funding model which allows the city to thrive at local, national and international level while putting the health and wellbeing of its citizens at the very centre of it. We also believe Glasgow’s cultural venues and collections should receive a fair funding deal.

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Glasgow Life lost £38 million during lockdown when it was forced to close its doors. Its income was wiped out overnight and projected income for this financial year is just £6.4million.

As the recovery from the pandemic begins, Glasgow Life has been able to reopen 90 of its 171 venues and Glasgow City Council has pledged a £100m funding deal for the next four years, but without significant additional funding they cannot afford to reopen other venues.

HeraldScotland: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is run by Glasgow LifeKelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is run by Glasgow Life

The Glasgow Life report looks at how culture and leisure services could be a driver for health and social care benefits and set out how new partnerships could develop for a future Glasgow.

It is a vision in which Glasgow will be the place to live, top of European happiness indexes and with a healthy and productive population.

Describing a future city, the report said: “Glasgow in 2040 will be a genuinely global city, with culture and leisure at its heart. The economy will be transformed with the lowest ever levels of unemployment and a consistent flow of new businesses and social enterprises being created in the city.

“The visitor economy will boom, driven by a world class culture and leisure offer, attracting more overnight visitors each year, creating new jobs and contributing to the wider city region economy. This will underpin the delivery of inclusive growth for the city benefitting all of its citizens.”

2040 Glasgow would be a place where museums and galleries are consistently voted top in UK visitor polls, and the city will be a magnet for creative talent from across the world attracted both by Glasgow’s heritage and reputation, the report adds.

This is also a Glasgow that has cast its sick man of Europe tag aside and its public health record will be transformed through innovative measures that enable healthier living across much wider sections of society and where communities take greater responsibility for their own wellbeing and for the quality of their environment.

So how will this be achieved? The report says this is not just “wishful thinking” adding: “We want to create a new Pathfinder Partnership between Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish and UK Governments and the NHS to address, through culture and sport, some of the significant societal and economic challenges that Glasgow faces.

“This will require a shift in emphasis from a facilities-based model to one focussed on the services and assets that citizens and communities most need. This new approach will target resources and services on two interconnected outcomes – improving public health and wellbeing and increasing productivity and inclusive economic growth.”

One of the suggestions of the report was for a taskforce to be set up to bring all future partners together.

HeraldScotland: Cllr Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said this kind of bold innovation and collaborative approach is neededCllr Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said this kind of bold innovation and collaborative approach is needed (Image: newsquest)

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is an ambitious vision for 2040, but Glasgow is a city that is recognised globally as a model of regeneration and renewal, and it’s exactly this kind of bold innovation and collaborative approach that is needed now if we are to see it become a reality.

“Significant and prolonged pressures on public finance combined with the unprecedented social and economic challenges created by the pandemic mean that a new, more sustainable model for how public services are planned, funded and delivered in the future is required.

“The experience of the past 17 months and the demand for Glasgow Life’s services has shown just how valued and important Glasgow’s cultural and sporting provision is to supporting the health and wellbeing of communities across the city.

“There’s a wealth of evidence that demonstrates the transformative impact culture, sport and physical activity can have on Glasgow’s, and Scotland’s, post-Covid recovery; both in terms of reducing our reliance on the NHS and future healthcare costs, and building happier, healthier, more resilient and more productive communities in the years ahead.”

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