Government creates £15m pot for Northern cultural projects

The Government has launched a £15m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, aiming to benefit “areas that have historically had low levels of cultural and creative investment”.

The fund has been set up to capitalise on the legacy of the Great Exhibition of the North, due to take place in Newcastle and Gateshead next summer.

A Government statement said that schemes could include opening a new tech start-up centre or renovating live music venues, to increase opportunities for people to experience, benefit and contribute to culture and creativity.

The fund will make grants of up to £4m available. The first round of bids will be coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The successful projects will be announced in March 2018.

While Manchester’s major cultural project, the £110m Factory, is being paid for with £78m of Treasury funding, the prominence of the scheme has come under fire as many other cultural institutions across the North face cuts. Split across a number of competing schemes, this latest pot of funding may be considered too thinly spread.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “This £15m fund is a fantastic chance for towns and cities to develop inspirational projects that could have a transformative local effect, particularly in communities that have seen less cultural or creative investment in the past.

“We want as many people as possible to benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North, and this fund will boost the Northern Powerhouse and help build a lasting legacy across the whole region.”

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