Arts Council England announces commitment to 54 priority places

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Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan has been unveiled setting out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let’s Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.

The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress.

The publication of the Delivery Plan follows the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies. Driven by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, with the backing of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Culture Recovery Fund is the biggest one-off investment in culture from the Government in history, providing a vital lifeline to save our cultural sector and help organisations prepare for reopening.

Let’s Create was written just before the pandemic, but the vision still holds true and if anything is even more critical now. Creativity and culture can, and should, play a part in helping level up the country.

To help make this vision a reality the Delivery Plan names 54 priority places across England. Arts Council will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners. From Mansfield to Medway, Great Yarmouth to Gosport, Walsall to Wigan, and Barrow-in-Furness to Brent, priority places recognises the need for cultural investment, and it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy high-quality cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods.

These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

In the last decade, the Arts Council has significantly shifted its investment outside of London. The aim in Let’s Create is to increase focus on specific places underserved in the past. Priority places are just one of the ways in which the Arts Council are committed to levelling up by strengthening cultural and creativity opportunities in a targeted way. Investment will increase in a range of other locations through Arts Council’s own programmes such as Creative People & Places (budget for 2021-22 £23 million), the new Place Partnership fund (budget for 2021-22 £7 million), and the Government funding streams that Arts Council support: UK City of Culture (the City of Coventry has received nearly £21 million for 2021), and the Stronger Towns Fund (£1.6 billion fund from 2019 to 2026).

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, says: “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens. It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the government’s programme of levelling up. We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor says: “Tees Valley has been identified as one of 54 priority places where the Arts Council will develop new opportunities for investment. This comes at a vital time as the country continues its economic recovery following the effects of the coronavirus. Not only will this support help to promote and develop more high-quality experiences to give people things to look forward to after what has been a couple of incredibly difficult years, it will also directly boost the creative industries. On top of this, brilliant businesses in our towns and high streets will benefit, as more people get out and about to check them out, in turn spending their cash in shops, restaurants and bars once again.”

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Arts Council England announces commitment to 54 priority places

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