Today, Arts Council England has announced that North East Lincolnshire will be one of 15 priority places in the North where they want to develop new opportunities for investment, as part of the publication of its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021 – 2024.
Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan sets 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. Across the North, from Barnsley to Blackpool, South Tyneside to Kirklees, County Durham to Wigan, and Barrow-in-Furness to the Tees Valley, 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.
Building on the momentum of Grimsby Creates, its current Cultural Development Fund project, North East Lincolnshire has ambitious plans to put culture at the centre of regeneration and make sure that residents and visitors have a vibrant creative and heritage offer to enjoy. The festivals and events programme, including the recent Festival of the Sea and the upcoming Festival of the Sky Presents, are great examples of how the area is developing opportunities for local cultural organisations as well as bringing in national partners. The cultural sector in the area is growing, with key organisations like The Culture House, a community arts organisation in Grimsby, and Our Big Picture, a visual arts organisation leading work in public spaces, helping to boost the range of local opportunities through partnership and collaboration. Since the beginning of the pandemic North East Lincolnshire has received £3,091,798 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
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 is committed to levelling up by strengthening cultural and creativity opportunities in a targeted way. Investment will increase in a range of other locations through the 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 the Arts Council supports: 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.”
Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “I am pleased to see North East Lincolnshire announced today as one of our 15 priority places across the North. The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across North East Lincolnshire to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.
“The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations during the pandemic. It is important that we now continue to invest in the cultural sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live. The launch of our Delivery Plan and announcement of a set of priority places shows our commitment to this.
“In recent years we have seen North East Lincolnshire develop its cultural ambitions. I look forward to working closely with the local authorities and the cultural sector across the region to help support and nurture the growth of the sector and its offer.”
Cllr Callum Procter, Cabinet member for Economic Growth at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is really positive news for our area. It’s great to have a renewed focus on culture, building on the great work done so far, particularly through the Grimsby Creates programme. We’re really putting cultural activity at the heart of the investment in our towns, and this will help our local creative individuals and organisations to do more with our local communities.”