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Government announces £20m cultural investment supporting ‘better places to live’

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Government will invest £20 million to regenerate towns across the UK through cultural programmes and making “better places to live”.

The Department Of Digital Culture Media And Sport (DCMS) hopes that 1,300 jobs will be generated by funding arts and creative industries in run-down towns.

Grimsby, Wakefield, Plymouth, Worcester and the Kent Thames Estuary will receive millions in funding to boost the economy through culture, and help regenerate urban centres.

Historic engineering, sculpture, festivals and creative research and development will receive a kick-start from the DCMS, with an additional £17.5 million expected to be added to the fund.

The move is part of a DCMS strategy to boost local economies by supporting creative industries.

Culture Minister 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.”

Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018
The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in West Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

The investment is part of a DCMS programme to promote local and national cultural value, which will be addressed in a speech by Mr Wright in Coventry.  

Coventry will become the city of culture in 2021, and will benefit from financial backing and cultural investment.

Mr Wright and the DCMS want the Cultural Development Fund to help regenerate other parts of the nation, and nourish local culture.

A grant of £3.2 million will deliver a new programme of international events and public art to revive the town centre of Grimsby. 

Wakefield will receive more than £4.4 million for projects including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth Wakefield.

Plymouth will receive £3.5 million for projects which include a cultural programme to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower pioneering voyage with the Pilgrim Fathers. 

While Worcester will receive £3 million to celebrate historic engineering and promote local festivals.

The Kent Thames Estuary will receive £4.3 million to help support research and development, and establish an area to support creative industries.

Industry bosses have welcomed the drive for local investment.  

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

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