Parents are restricting their children’s artistic pursuits due to cost of living pressures, the co-founder of the choral charity warns

A combination of rising living costs and cuts in arts funding is leading to more children missing out on arts activities, according to a new report.

A report from London Youth choirs reported that 31% of parents had to limit their extracurricular artistic activities due to the increase cost of living.

In addition, 24% of parents do not have the resources to support their children’s creative activities.

Overall, culture funding has declined by 46% in real terms since 2005, meaning that opportunities for excellence in the arts are declining.

The London Youth Choirs are currently preparing for a show to mark their 10th birthday.

But behind the scenes, more and more families find themselves in difficult situations.

While some families have to compromise with other extracurricular activities, others just can’t afford it.

The charity provides additional funding and support for those struggling – although this is not always possible with different organizations and providers.

Laura’s daughter Reya joined the choir last fall.

She told Sky News: “Reya is only doing this now and she’s getting money to allow the choir to take part, which is really good and really helpful because it means she still has work to do.

“Without the funding, it couldn’t come.”

Caroline has two children who are part of the choir.

She told Sky News: “We don’t want to throw money away, we want it to be good value for money.

“There’s a budget, you can’t pick everything. It’s so important, kids are all about potential, we don’t know what they’re going to be good at.

“If they can’t try it now, if it’s not available to them, they’ll never discover that maybe that’s what they did and loved for the rest of their lives.”

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Rachel Staunton, co-founder of London Youth Choirs, told Sky News: “I think without making things really accessible and free, I’m afraid we’ll end up with music being an elite thing, which is so sad will be.

“It will be great if it really gets support, whether it’s from generous donors or the way we prioritize it in the curriculum.”

More investment needs to be made to ensure children don’t miss out, Creative UK says.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative UK, told Sky News: “It’s hugely important that young people have access to culture, that they have art in their lives.

“It’s something we’re fundamentally good at in this country, the creative industries brings billions of pounds to our country – it’s one of those things that we’re uniquely brilliant at and allows us to compete globally.

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“It all starts with a decent arts education in schools.”

Ms Norbury also criticized the government for failing to deliver on its manifesto promise of a bounty for arts students in schools.

“That was something that was in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto that would have made more art available to young people in schools and we’ve yet to see that, that’s a real shame.”

In a statement, a spokesman said: “The Government is investing heavily in the arts and has committed to providing £446million a year to arts organizations through Arts Council England, almost 80% of which provide activities specifically for children and young people.

“As well as making museums and galleries available to the public free of charge, we are also helping to ensure a more equitable regional distribution of arts funding, supporting areas that have been neglected for too long and bringing world-class arts and culture to the doorsteps of millions.”


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