5 UK areas to receive government grant to “unleash creativity”

Plans for Worcester's railway bridges

A government grant of £20 million will be shared across five locations in England – to invest in local culture, heritage and creative industries.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, announced the initiative today. Grimsby, the Thames Estuary, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester will all receive funding to be used on local cultural plans. Those plans will strengthen the local arts sector, increase cultural access and provide greater opportunity for people seeking creative careers.

The funding is expected to create over 1,300 new jobs, benefit 2,000 people through skills training, and support more than 700 businesses.

An additional £17.5 million will be invested through match-funding.

Winning bids

Wakefield will receive more than £4.4 million to turn Wakefield into a renowned location. The project will unite Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth, among others.

Grimsby will receive £3.2 million which will go towards delivering a new programme of international events and public art to revive the town centre.

Plymouth will receive £3.5 million. This will be used to develop immersive and digital technologies to drive growth in the local creative economy.

The Thames Estuary will receive £4.3 million to help develop a globally-significant creative production corridor.

Finally, Worcester will receive £3 million. This will be spent on regenerating the iconic railway arches, providing affordable creative workspaces and business support. It will also go towards a festival programme.

A catalyst for regeneration

The funds come from the Cultural Development Fund (CDF), which was launched by the Government last year to invest in heritage, culture and creativity as a catalyst for regeneration. 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.”

Nicholas Serota, Chair of 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.”

Image courtesy of Node via Worcester.gov.uk