Five locations across England will receive a share of £20 million (€22.68m) to invest in local culture, heritage and creative industries and help drive economic growth.
In the first government investment of its kind, Grimsby, the Thames Estuary, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester will use the funding on local cultural plans which are tailored to the strengths and needs of each area.
It is expected that the funding will create over 1,300 new jobs, benefit 2,000 people through skills training, and support more than 700 businesses. Through match-funding, an additional £17.5 million will be invested across the five locations.
The Cultural Development Fund (CDF) has been launched by the Government to use investment in heritage, culture and creativity as a catalyst for regeneration. Each area has designed plans to strengthen the local arts sector, increase cultural access and provide greater opportunity for people to forge creative careers.
“Creativity, arts and heritage make our towns and cities unique and our communities better places to live,” declared Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright. “The Cultural Development Fund will support tailored local plans that use culture to create jobs, boost tourism and ultimately regenerate communities. This is an incredible opportunity that will not only help people build careers in the arts and culture locally but also boost wider investment and diversify the creative economy.”
The Culture Secretary confirmed the new funding as part of a major speech in the West Midlands city of Coventry – the next UK City of Culture in 2021 – on the value of culture to the individual, communities and the nation as a whole.
The CDF, announced in the Creative Industries Sector Deal in 2018, marks a step change in how the Government is investing in culture. It aims to increase access to arts, heritage and the creative industries while also boosting the local economy by attracting more visitors to each area and supporting the growth of new businesses.
It forms part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy which has seen more than £150 million jointly invested by Government and industry through the creative industries sector deal to help cultural and creative businesses across Britain thrive and consolidate the country’s position as a global creative and cultural powerhouse.
The Fund was launched off the back of the success of Hull as UK City of Culture 2017. Hull provided further evidence of how targeted investment in culture can deliver a significant economic boost to an area, with over £3 billion of investment and more than 800 new jobs created in the city in the four years since it was awarded the title in 2013.
“At the Arts Council we believe that arts, culture and creativity have the power to transform people’s lives and the places where they live,” commented Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England. “It’s been a pleasure to work with DCMS to deliver the Cultural Development Fund, which makes significant investment across the arts, heritage and creative industries to bring about real change – and gives us the opportunity to demonstrate and quantify the impact that arts and culture have on economic growth and productivity in urban areas.”
“I welcome today’s announcement, which marks another important step in the implementation of the Sector Deal agreed between the Creative Industries Council and Government,” added Tim Davie, co-chair of the Creative Industries Council. “These awards highlight the extent to which the creative industries are now a key part of local economies all over England and should enable them to grow further.”