Towns, cities and rural areas across England will put culture at the heart of their residents’ future prosperity and wellbeing thanks to a £20million National Lottery-funded scheme.
The pilot Great Place Scheme - one of the flagship measures from the Government’s Culture White Paper – has two central aims: to ensure that the considerable investment in culture made by organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England has the maximum positive impact on jobs, economic performance, educational attainment, community cohesion and health and wellbeing; and to enable ambitious civic organisations and local businesses and communities to invest in and put culture at the heart of their thinking.
The 16 places to bid successfully for funding include:
- Barnsley and Rotherham - £1,264,000 - The Boroughs of Barnsley and Rotherham are among the most deprived in England, but have the potential to become major visitor destinations and create economic growth and prosperity. This is thanks to some immensely important heritage in the villages of Elsecar and Wentworth and the National Lottery-funded Cooper Gallery in Barnsley and Clifton Park in Rotherham. Funding will allow the boroughs to work with deprived communities who were hit hard by the decline in traditional industries, increasing engagement culture, tackling social issues and using heritage stories to reignite a sense of local pride and ambition.
- Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft - The local authorities want to bring about a ‘cultural reimagining’ of the two seaside towns. Building on recent National Lottery investment, including the HLF-funded Venetian Waterways in Great Yarmouth, funding will support the creation of a local cultural strategy, increase cultural education for children and young people to inspire a strong sense of place and local pride, and allow the local authority to attract visitors, using arts and heritage to drive economic growth.
- Gloucester- £1,489,200 - National Lottery funding for Gloucester has improved parts of the town centre and paid for major work to the Cathedral. The City Council now has a vision to transform how historic buildings and outdoor spaces are used and viewed by local people, supporting those who live, work and play in the city to follow their cultural interests, passions and vocations. The aim is to devolve custodianship of culture from the city council to a new, diverse and active Gloucester Culture Trust. The trust will work to increase local engagement with arts and heritage to raise aspirations and improve wellbeing, particularly among young people.
- Walthamstow - £1,355,600 - Walthamstow has come a long way in recent years. Now, thanks to local ambition coupled with National Lottery funding for projects including the William Morris Gallery, local parks and a new wetlands habitat, the local authority wants to finish the job of putting Walthamstow firmly on the map. Working with partners, residents and businesses, the London Borough of Waltham Forest will celebrate and deepen understanding of the unique local heritage and cultural diversity. Putting arts and heritage at the heart of regeneration schemes and supporting local skills to enhance employment will give current and future residents a better quality of life.
The 16 pilot areas will now be carrying out a range of activities including: exploring new ways to include arts and heritage in the provision of local education or health services; research into the contribution made by arts and heritage to local economies; funding for people working in arts and heritage to build networks and increase their skills; exploring and piloting new ways of financing cultural organisations; encouraging the use of existing powers that allow communities to support their local culture, such as the Community Right to Bid or listing local landmarks as Assets of Community Value; and development of local strategies that maximise the community benefit that local arts and heritage can deliver.
Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: “Strong local heritage and culture brings real benefits to communities. It can boost investment, attract tourists and make areas better places to live and work.
“As set out in the Culture White Paper this Great Place Scheme, funded by National Lottery players, will help areas across the country put culture at the heart of communities and celebrate their unique history, architecture and landscapes.”
Chief Executive of HLF Ros Kerslake said: “The Great Place Scheme is something new and really quite radical. The aim is to bring together National Lottery investment and local ambition, to make a difference to people across entire communities. It’s a bold plan and I am looking forward to seeing some innovative and exciting results from these 16 pilot projects.”
Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley said: “This new investment will make a big difference to people in areas where there's a genuine commitment to embed arts, culture and heritage in everyday life. The Great Place Scheme will enrich towns and cities across the country, delivering real economic and social benefits.”
Twelve other projects with funding announced are:
- Coventry City of Culture Trust (West Midlands) – ‘Place, heritage and diversity in a modern UK city’ - £1,489,200
- Craven District Council (Yorkshire and the Humber) – ‘Crossing the Watersheds’ £1,340,300
- Derbyshire County Council (East Midlands) – ‘Vital Valley: A creative future for Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site’ - £1,285,800
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority (North West) - Stronger together: a culturally diverse and democratic city region - £1,489,255
- Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (London) – ‘Made In Park Royal’ - £1,489,200
- Reading Borough Council (South East) – ‘Reading-on-Thames’ - £558,400
- Rural Media Charity (West Midlands) – ‘Herefordshire's a Great Place’ - £748,200
- Sunderland Culture (North East) – ‘Sunderland Comes of Age’ - £1,249,900
- Tees Valley Combined Authority (North East) – ‘Greater Tees’ - £1,332,500
- The Creative Foundation (South East) – ‘Pioneering Places: East Kent’ - £1,489,200
- Torbay Economic Development Company Ltd (South West) – ‘Torbay, a place to feel great’ - £1,191,400
- Visit County Durham (North East) – ‘Northern Heartlands’ - £1,489,200