Here are some tips on how to demonstrate the value of public investment in arts and culture effectively to your Assembly Member or Member of Parliament.
If you don't already have a strong relationship with your local AM/MP consider cultivating their support as soon as possible. Bear in mind that AMs/MPs receive many appeals for support and have a limited amount of time. AM/MPs are usually available in their constituencies on Fridays and at weekends.
Research their interests. For example, research memberships of Committees and All Party groups, find out if they have asked relevant questions in the Assembly, and see if the organisations they are patrons of will help you to tailor your approach.
Use your networks to make a compelling offer for your AM/MP or an appropriate minister or shadow minister. For example, you could host a visit themed around children and young people with other arts organisations in your area.
How to contact your AM
The National Assembly for Wales is made up of 60 elected Assembly Members (AMs) and every Welsh citizen will have 5 Assembly Members representing them.
How does this work? There are 40 constituency areas in Wales e.g. Wrexham, Cardiff West, Blaenau Gwent and each constituency has its own elected AM. However, there are also five larger electoral regions in Wales (North Wales, Mid and West Wales, South Wales West, South Wales Central and South Wales East) and each of these regions has a further four AMs representing the people in that region.
You can find out who the AMs are for your area by visiting the National Assembly for Wales website at www.assemblywales.org or go to www.writetothem.com
How to contact your MP
The MPs are elected in the same 40 constituency areas as the constituency AMs, so there will be one MP representing you in your area.
You can find out who your MP is by visiting the UK Parliament website at www.parliament.uk or go to www.writetothem.com
Events with AMs/MPs
Invite your local MP to an event or to see your organisation's work. Offer to provide a behind the scenes guide or tour, with the opportunity to meet some of your staff and some of the people who benefit from what you do. If your invitation is accepted, suggest that you set up a photo call with the local media.
Arts Council of Wales attend annual AMs/MPs surgeries in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and Westminster highlighting the impact and value of the arts within their constituencies.
Over the long term this approach helps politicians and key stakeholders to see the value of the arts to their constituents and the local community.