Councillor Anne Quilter is the new portfolio holder for Carlisle City Council’s “Culture, Health, Leisure & Young People” Team, and also a manager at Riverside housing.  ABSTRACT’s Alex Messenger went to visit her to see what she was about!

Anne is a very friendly woman who from talking to was obviously passionate about her job.  She greeted Sarah and I with a big smile and a laugh, and led us to her office that reflected her lively character with lots of unusual posters on the walls.


You are the new portfolio for the community engagement directory. Can you tell us what this job entails?

My Portfolio varies greatly.  I am linked to communities, specifically in regards to tourism and young people, and I speak to them directly to see what they want to see Carlisle City Council bring to the city in the form of things like sport, art and local activities.  I really want to give Carlisle that buzz found in bigger cities.  The city hasn’t seen much investment recently and I want to change that by looking at opportunities to fund projects.

As a city we are missing certain things, e.g. a theatre and an ice rink, which puts us a disadvantage when compared to other cities that have more variety.  For some of these issues we are looking at the bigger picture by working with groups like ‘Sport England’ to promote Carlisle as a healthy city and with Carlisle Leisure we’re discussing plans for a new pool and café at The Sands.  And also think of the untapped tourism potential in places like the guildhall.  Many don’t even notice it’s there.  What if we made it more obvious?  Enhanced the displays on show?  We’re working on getting it repaired and improving access.

Lots of innovative ideas are being talked about..  Apps have been discussed that promote the city to tourists; plans have been made to enhance Carlisle as a music city by having more unsigned artists in the city centre; local community groups are being encouraged to feed into what we do as well, to bring about more of that fantastic sense of spirit we all felt when the Olympic Torch was around.


What do you plan to do in the future?

We are looking at working across the city with partners linked to leisure, sport, culture and heritage, tourism and businesses to develop the city to make it more vibrant and to boost the local economy.


What did you think of the ABSTRACT open mic night?

It was an excellent event.  There was a great standard of music and no drivel like The X-Factor!  It was a great venue, a lovely space and the Foxes guys were great, very accommodating.  I’d like to see more of this kind of thing!


 Do you prefer goats or sheep?

They’re more appealing.  I do love them both though!