Parents are cutting back on arts activities for their children due to cost of living pressures, co-founder of choir charity warns

A combination of the rising cost of living and cuts to arts funding mean more children are missing out on arts activities, according to a new report. 

A report from London Youth Choirs detailed that 31% of parents have had to cut back on extracurricular arts activities due to the rising cost of living.

As well as this, 24% of parents don't have the means to support their child's creative pursuits.

Overall, culture funding has decreased by 46% in real terms since 2005, meaning opportunities to excel in the arts are worsening.

London Youth Choirs are currently preparing for a showcase performance to mark their 10th birthday.

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

While some families face trade-offs with other extracurricular activities, others simply can't afford it.

The charity provides extra funding and support to those who are struggling - though this isn't always an option across different organisations and providers.

Laura's daughter Reya joined the choir last autumn.

She told Sky News: "Reya only does this now and she gets funding for the choir to be able to attend which is really good and really helpful because it means she's still got something to do.

"Without the funding she wouldn't be able to come."

Caroline has two children who are a part of the choir.

She told Sky News: "We're not wanting to throw money away, we're wanting it to be good value for money.

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

"If they don't get to try it now, if it's not available to them, they'll never discover that that might have been the thing that 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 do fear that we'll end up with music being a thing for the elite, which will be so sad.

"It will be great for it to be really supported, whether that's donors giving generously or the way we prioritise it in the curriculum."

Creative UK says there needs to be more investment to ensure children are not missing out.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative UK, told Sky News: "It's terribly important that young people have access to culture, that they have arts in their lives.

"It's something that we're fundamentally good at in this country, the creative industries bring billions of pounds into our country - it's one of the things we're uniquely brilliant at and allows us to compete globally.

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"All of that starts with a decent arts education in schools."

Ms Norbury also criticised the government for not delivering on its manifesto pledge for an arts pupil premium in schools.

"That is something that was in the 2019 Conservative manifesto which would have provided more provision of arts for young people in schools, and we're yet to see that, that's a real shame."

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "The government is investing heavily in the arts and has committed to providing £446m per year to arts organisations through Arts Council England, with almost 80% of these delivering activities specifically for children and young people.

"As well as having museums and galleries available to the public for free, we are also helping to ensure there is a fairer regional distribution of arts funding by providing support to areas which for too long have been overlooked, bringing world class arts and culture to the doorsteps of millions."