From education to employment

Five areas to share £20 million to unleash creativity across the nation

Grimsby, Thames Estuary, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester will receive millions of pounds of funding to invest in culture

  • Grimsby, Thames Estuary, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester will receive millions of pounds of funding to invest in culture
  • Investment will support economic growth and create more than 1,300 new jobs across the country
  • This funding forms part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive

Five locations across England will receive a share of £20 million to invest in local culture, heritage and creative industries and help drive economic growth, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced today.

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.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said:

Creativity, arts and heritage make our towns and cities unique and our communities better places to live.

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 will confirm the new funding as part of a major speech in Coventry today – 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 last year, 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.

Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“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. 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.”

Tim Davie, co-chair of the Creative Industries Council said:

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. 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.

Details of the winning bids:


Wakefield will receive more than £4.4 million . Bringing together major and respected cultural organisations including Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth Wakefield, this project will turn Wakefield into an internationally renowned location promoting our world-class creative industries.


Grimsby will receive £3.2 million. The bid will deliver a new programme of international events and public art to revive the town centre, provide a business support programme for local creative businesses and create new production facilities in the town’s historic centre.


Plymouth will receive £3.5 million to develop the use of immersive and digital technologies to drive growth in the local creative economy and bring to life the cultural programme to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship’s pioneering voyage.

Thames Estuary:

The Thames Estuary will receive £4.3 million to help develop a globally-significant creative production corridor. Through a programme of cultural R&D, training and mentoring for local organisations, and new arts commissioning, a consortium of partners will develop a well-connected creative cluster.


Worcester will receive £3 million to regenerate the iconic railway arches, providing affordable creative workspaces and business support. The bid will provide support for a festivals programme helping to diversify the local cultural offering and will retain local creative graduates to the city.

Published 18 January 2019

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