ARTSTaunton, an organisation that aims to transform Taunton Deane into a regional centre for world class arts, has become a registered charity.

It is now forming strong coalitions and partnerships across the district with arts organisations, businesses and influential individuals to help further its ambitious aim.

Founder and executive director Kit Chapman said: "With a wonderful geographical location, excellent road and rail links, glorious countryside, world class sporting venues, and fine schools and colleges, we are already very special.

"Now we are aiming to bring our cultural offerings to the fore to meet the demands of those living and travelling to our town."

The newly formed charity is already attracting well known key figures prepared to lend their support as patrons.

Among them are Annie Maw, the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset; lyricist Sir Tim Rice; Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis; former High Sheriffs of Somerset John Cullum, the father of jazz musician Jamie Cullum, and Edward Bayntun-Coward; entrepreneur Andrew Brownsword; Lord Cameron of Dillington; and Sarah and Tim Mead, of Yeo Valley.

Founding patron Sir Tim Rice said: "This is great news for Arts Taunton.

"Since its foundation, it has significantly raised the profile of the arts not only in Taunton but in Somerset as a whole.

"Now that charitable status has been achieved, I’m sure that its influence will be felt more effectively and more widely than ever before."

A keen supporter from the beginning, Annie Maw said: "Taunton is our county town. As such, we must do our best to preserve the beauty of the town centre which has great potential.

"Taunton could then reflect and inspire the whole of Somerset, one of the UK's more beautiful counties, where the arts, in every form, are active and are enriching the lives of the community."

Michael Eavis said: "It's about time that this super county town of ours made a leap into the future."

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow has also been appointed an ambassador for ArtsTaunton.

The charity is also working closely with Taunton Deane Borough Council and the Brewhouse Theatre as they explore the new Coal Orchard development potential as Taunton’s arts and culture quarter.