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Three cultural projects in northern England share £15m fund

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Bradford Odeon gets funding from Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund of Great Exhibition of the North.

Three major cultural projects across the north of England will receive a share of £15m ($21.3m) from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

A total of £4m ($5.6m) will help transform the vacant former Bradford Odeon cinema into a 4,000 capacity live music, entertainment and events venue.

Nearly £3.3m ($4.7m) will enhance the visitor experience at cultural attractions across the Lake District, the UK’s newest World Heritage Site.

A further £4m will be used to create a museum in Blackpool that will celebrate the town’s history as the UK’s first mass seaside holiday resort.

As well as the three capital projects, a new fund providing access to finance for the cultural sector and creative industries in the north will be created.

The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund was created to build a lasting regional legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North, a two-month exhibition, celebrating art, culture, and design in the north of England.

Michael Ellis, minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said: “These exciting projects will provide a true cultural legacy for people across the North that increases tourism, boosts local economies and creates jobs for the future. They reflect the diversity and unique identity of Blackpool, Bradford and the Lake District and will enable them to realise their exciting cultural ambitions.”

The Bradford Odeon is a 1930s twin domed cinema has been vacant since 2000. The redevelopment will be one of the biggest of its type in the country outside of London and will bring Bradford back on the national touring circuit. The venue, due to be run by NEC Group International, will aim to put on around 225 events to more than 270,000 people every year. The project is being led by a not-for-profit social enterprise, Bradford Live, assisted by Bradford Council.

The Lake District funding will be invested in a project to strengthen the visitor experience at Windermere Jetty, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum and Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum. Through increasing accessibility and improving exhibition spaces, the regeneration project aims to attract nearly 150,000 additional visitors.

Blackpool Museum will display artefacts, music and performances from within Blackpool and partners including the V&A, EMI Group Archive Trust and the British Music Hall Society. The museum is expected to attract almost 300,000 visitors a year and will be developed on the world-famous Golden Mile. It is expected to open in 2020.

Eleven towns and cities from across the north bid for a share of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, which encourages sustainable cultural and creative regeneration and will benefit areas with historically low levels of cultural and creative investment.

Image: c. Alan Murray-Rust.

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