The Culture Co-op is the chosen name given to the Lancaster District Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), one of 24 LCEP’s in the North West developed to meet Arts Council England’s Cultural Education Challenge.

Made up of arts organisations, education establishments (Primary, Secondary, FE & HE), health and well-being institutions, youth and community organisations and representatives from local authority, this cross-sector partnership was formed to ensure that every child and young person across the Lancaster District has access to high quality cultural activity, no matter their background, circumstance or ability.

Governance of the Lancaster District Cultural Education Partnership is led by a steering group of partner members and is co-chaired by Guy Christiansen (Chief Executive of Lancashire Youth Challenge) and Nik Marsden (Development Manager at Lancaster University). The steering group currently meets every two months, alongside a representative from Curious Minds. Working groups are formed as and when required to move forward strategic plans and activities.

Moving on from the initial consensus/ consultation period back in 2018, the partnership has since galvanised into an advocate, connector and initiator of arts and cultural activity across the district.

In short, the Culture Co-op, with support from its member organisations, stakeholders and local artists is here to;


local networks and partnerships by facilitating new connections.


schools to achieve Artsmark and deliver Arts Award.


additional financial investment to enhance the local arts and cultural offer.


out and resource opportunities to enrich the lives of children and young people.

Speak up

and advocate for cultural education on a local, regional and national level.


as a platform for young people to meaningfully contribute to programming.

Our Strategic Directions

Changing People's Hearts & Minds to Cultural Education

Focus: Create infrastructure, advocate, exchange skills and affect local/ regional policy.


  • Develop a consultation/ focus group consisting of young people
  • Increase knowledge/ understanding/ awareness of Artsmark and Arts Award across the district
  • Facilitate exchanges between steering group and wider network member organisations and individuals
  • Attend events, conferneces and local strategic decision making meetings

Refocussing Programmes & Opportunities

Focus: Develop projects, maximise creation opportunities and define new places to create, develop employment opportunities for young people.


  • Mapping/ audit of assets and provision
  • Formulating a process/ model for sharing information that can be used continually to connect young people to activity
  • Identify gaps in provision
  • Explore a young people’s paid work placement model

Engaging & Empowering Young People

Focus: Develop young people’s input in the partnership and programme development.


  • Shared digital toolkit made by young people
  • Support member organisations to set up young leadership initiatives¬†
  • Identify barriers to engagement in arts and culture
  • Develop case studies highlighting areas of exceptional good practice
  • Nurture/ mentor young district leaders



Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEP’s) are place-based groups of influential experts united by their desire to improve cultural education for local children and young people.

Cultural Ed Challenge

The Cultural Education Challenge is the Arts Council’s call for the art, culture and education sectors to work together to offer consistent and high-quality art and cultural education for all children and young people.

Arts Council England

They are the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 they want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish.