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£20 million government boost for culture and creative industries in England

Arts Minister Michael Ellis launches £20 million fund for culture, heritage and the creative industries to benefit towns and cities across England.

  • Cultural Development Fund marks a new government approach to cultural investment in England.

  • Fund is a commitment in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

  • Towns and cities across the country will benefit from a new £20 million fund for culture, heritage and creative industries, launched by Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis today.

Areas will be able to bid for up to £7 million for a number of projects in a certain area to help regeneration, create jobs and maximise the impact of investment. This could be for new spaces for creative businesses, bringing historic buildings back into use or redeveloping museums and art galleries.

The investment will help to grow local economies and increase access to arts, heritage and the creative industries.

The Cultural Development Fund marks a new approach for government investment in culture and creative industries. Rather than investment going to a specific venue or artform, the funding will go to geographical locations, including cities or towns in rural areas.

The fund also supports the Government’s Industrial Strategy by aiming to boost productivity in towns and cities across England and use creativity as a catalyst to make places more attractive to live, work and visit.

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said:

Cultural investment can have a transformative impact on communities. Creativity, culture and heritage is what makes places special for local people and visitors alike. But it also helps attract inward investment, with businesses drawn to vibrant, exciting towns and cities.

This fund gives more places the chance to harness the unique power of culture to regenerate communities, create jobs and boost tourism.

The initiative comes after the success of Hull 2017. Since Hull was awarded UK City of Culture in 2013, it attracted over £3 billion of investment and created 800 new jobs.

The Cultural Development Fund also builds on the success of creative hubs launched by the Government and developed through growth and city deals, such as Bristol’s Temple Quarter. This has delivered thousands of jobs in design, media and music businesses in the West Country city.

The Government anticipates that this approach will allow smaller towns and cities to replicate the huge success of Hull and other creative hubs established across the country.

The Cultural Development Fund comes one day before the Great Exhibition of the North launches in Newcastle-Gateshead. It is part of the landmark Creative Industries Sector Deal, which will see more than £150 million jointly invested by Government and industry to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive.

The Fund will be administered through Arts Council England (ACE). Bids from local areas must maximise potential economic growth and productivity, strengthen local leadership in culture and the creative industries and help to enhance creative skills.

Details of successful projects will be released in due course.

Notes to editors

Darren Henley, Arts Council Chief Executive said:

Our world leading Creative Industries benefit from centres of production excellence up and down the country. The Cultural Development fund will help to build on the creativity that’s at the core of our arts, heritage and tech organisations in these towns and cities. We’re looking forward to working with DCMS to spark a real difference in people’s lives through this new investment.

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of HLF, said:

Culture, and heritage in particular, are central to a strong sense of identity and place. Our research has shown that tapping into that distinctiveness can provide a significant boost not just to tourism but also to broader local economic prosperity and all the jobs that means. So we welcome this new fund, which will open up opportunities to even more communities.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Author of the Independent Review of the Creative Industries, said:

This is one piece of a promising jigsaw envisioned in the Sector Deal: creative clusters taking root and growing, yielding both a cultural and an economic dividend.

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