Government unveils £20m culture fund

Tourism, heritage and arts minister Michael Ellis has launched a £20 million fund for culture, heritage and the creative industries in towns and cities across England.

Areas will be able to bid for up to £7 million for projects to help regeneration and create jobs.

This could be for new spaces for creative businesses, bringing historic buildings back into use or redeveloping museums and art galleries.

The investment aims to boost local economies and increase access to arts, heritage and the creative industries.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement: “The Cultural Development Fund marks a new approach for government investment in culture and creative industries. Rather than investment going to a specific venue or artform, the funding will go to geographical locations, including cities or towns in rural areas.

“The fund also supports the government’s Industrial Strategy by aiming to boost productivity in towns and cities across England and use creativity as a catalyst to make places more attractive to live, work and visit.”

The minister (pictured) said: “Cultural investment can have a transformative impact on communities. Creativity, culture and heritage is what makes places special for local people and visitors alike. But it also helps attract inward investment, with businesses drawn to vibrant, exciting towns and cities.

“This fund gives more places the chance to harness the unique power of culture to regenerate communities, create jobs and boost tourism.”

The initiative follows the success of Hull 2017. Since Hull was awarded UK City of Culture in 2013, it attracted more than £3 billion of investment and created 800 new jobs.

The Cultural Development Fund also builds on the success of creative hubs launched by the government and developed through growth and city deals, such as Bristol’s Temple Quarter.

The government hopes that this approach will allow smaller towns and cities to replicate the huge success of Hull and other creative hubs established across the country.

The Cultural Development Fund comes one day before the Great Exhibition of the North launches in Newcastle-Gateshead.

It is part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal, which will see more than £150 million jointly invested by government and industry to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive.

Picture of Royal Albert Hall on home page: Tony Baggett/