The Government has announced almost £60 million of cultural funding for regions outside London.
Cash will be given to seventy museums, public libraries and other venues including places which are heavily supported by Labour like Walsall and Stoke-on-Trent.
The £58.8 million pot is part of what the Government has billed as plans to “make sure everyone, no matter where they live, can access the UK’s world-renowned culture”.
Bradford, which was named UK City of Culture for 2025, will receive £4.9 million to redevelop the Kala Sangam intercultural arts centre and other resources to establish a network of local arts hubs.
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent will receive £5 million to build a wrap-around extension to improve facilities and accessibility and support local education, health and wellbeing projects.
Basildon Borough Council in Essex will receive £4.4 million to turn empty properties in the town centre into a creative facility for screen and immersive digital industries.
The fund will be delivered by ACE on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
It was allocated through a bidding process whereby local authorities and organisations pitch specific cultural projects for the money to be invested in.
How much each area will receive in funding
According to the Government, the third tranche of the Cultural Development Fund will allocate:
– £2,743,002 to the North West of England;
– £3,000,000 to the South West;
– £3,500,000 to the South East;
– £4,490,000 to the East of England;
– £4,998,500 to Yorkshire and the Humber;
– £5,000,000 to the East Midlands;
– £8,700,000 to the West Midlands.
There will also be funding provided through the Libraries Improvement Fund and the Museum Estate and Development Fund, which includes £1.8 million for London.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This investment will help to level up access to arts and culture for everyone, no matter where they live.
“Culture helps us create lifelong memories with our families and friends, provides entertainment and joy, and allows us to explore the world around us in new and exciting ways. It can also boost tourism, support local business and drive local economic growth.
“This funding will support brilliant arts organisations to upgrade their venues and create new projects that will be at the heart of their communities.”
Darren Henley, chief executive of ACE, said: “Investment in creativity and culture is a catalyst for improving well-being and raising aspirations, reinvigorating pride in communities, regenerating high streets and local economies, and bringing people together.
“We are pleased to play a part in delivering the Cultural Investment Fund and this £58 million investment will help create new, or improve existing, cultural buildings and spaces in our villages, towns and cities. By doing so it will support recovery and growth and unlock the creative potential of those who live and work in communities across England.”
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Culture, heritage and the arts all contribute to people’s sense of belonging and place. These grants will help to reinforce this and we welcome them.”
The announcement about the funding comes four days after Oldham Coliseum, a Greater Manchester venue was forced to close after grant cuts by Arts Council England (ACE).
The package follows the announcement last year of a new national portfolio of funding for museums, libraries and other art organisations for 2023 to 2026, which includes investment for 276 institutions that were not previously part of the programme.
It means a total of 990 institutions share £446 million each year, up from 714 previously but resulting in many long-standing institutions seeing a cut to their annual funding.
Academy Award-winner Sir Sam Mendes has criticised the ACE funding programme, which will result in grant reductions to the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, of which he is founding artistic director, insisting it will “wreak long-lasting havoc” on the wider industry.
Hampstead Theatre also had its funding slashed, leading Poirot star Sir David Suchet to return to its stage as a gesture of support on Wednesday.
Oldham Coliseum confirmed that a redundancy process will begin affecting all staff after an announcement from ACE that funding for the venue would be cut.
Additional reporting by Press Association.