New £15m cultural fund launched for northern cities

The government has announced the details of a new £15m cultural fund to help towns and cities build a lasting regional legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North.

The exhibition will be held in Newcastle and Gateshead next summer and the new Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will be available to towns and cities across the region invest in cultural projects, such as renovating live venues and building start-up centres.

The first round of bids will be coordinated by the local enterprise partnerships in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Humber, Lancashire, Leeds City Region, Liverpool City Region, North East, Sheffield City Region, Tees Valley, York and North Yorkshire and East Riding.

According to the guidance notes, the fund is looking to support projects that ‘make demonstrable, lasting and sustainable changes to places and spaces’ and benefit areas that have ‘historically had low levels of cultural and creative investment’.

The projects should also be able to demonstrate how they will lead to a ‘better quality of life and wellbeing within local communities’ and more sustainable cultural and creative organisations.

In addition, bids will be assessed against ambition and rationale for intervention in the local area, value for money and delivery and risk.

In addition, funding can be drawn down in one or more of the years of the fund – 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

‘This £15m fund is a fantastic chance for towns and cities to develop inspirational projects that could have a transformative local effect – particularly in communities that have seen less cultural or creative investment in the past,’ said culture secretary, Karen Bradley.

‘We want as many people as possible to benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North, and this fund will boost the Northern Powerhouse and help build a lasting legacy across the whole region.’

The successful projects will be announced in March 2018 and the government said a further round of funding may follow if all the available funds have not been committed.

The chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Roger Marsh, commented: ‘It is vital that new places feel the benefit of cultural investment so more communities, and particularly young people, have the opportunity to take an active part in inspirational creative activities.

‘We will continue to work with our partners across the city region to explore all opportunities to ensure our world-class cultural assets get the investment and development they deserve.’


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