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Government to inject extra £75 million into levelling up access to the arts

Melanie May | 24 February 2022 | News

the blur of a person walks past a row of photos in the Tate

The government is aiming to level up access to the arts by making culturally underserved communities outside of London a priority for funding, DCMS has announced.

An additional £75 million of arts funding will be distributed by 2025 to places that have been culturally under-served in the past.

Cultural investment by the government via Arts Council England (ACE) is expected to rise to almost £250 million by 2025 across England outside London ­– equivalent to a 19% increase.

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More than 100 locations will be prioritised for the new arts funding, and cultural organisations in London will be supported to expand their operations beyond the capital to enable more communities to benefit from their work.

According to DCMS, the aim is ‘to generate more opportunities for people in the regions, with more arts jobs on offer and better access to cultural activities so people do not have to travel as far to see world-class arts.’

Arts Council England will oversee the distribution of the funds which will support new and established arts organisations in the region, with 109 ‘Levelling Up for Culture Places’ to be prioritised for additional investment. Organisations old and new in areas that historically have had low investment in arts and culture will be encouraged to bid for funds.

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota said:

“The Arts Council welcomes this increase in funding from the government. It will enable more people in more places to reap the benefits of arts and culture and will accelerate our commitment to parts of the country that deserve more investment.

 

“We will be able to do more to nurture new creative talent, support work that makes us healthier and happier, renew our high streets and, above all, ensure that everyone, everywhere has the opportunity of a rich cultural and creative life.”

Commenting on the news, Chris Stafford, Chief Executive of Leicester’s Curve theatre, said:

“We believe everyone, irrespective of their circumstances, should have equal opportunity to engage with world-class culture and fulfil their creative potential. We welcome the new Arts Council investment programme which will see a greater balance of public investment across the country, ensuring no one is left behind.”

A further £48 million from the Cultural Investment Fund

The government will also shortly announce the recipients of £48 million of funding from the latest round of its Cultural Investment Fund. This will go to more than 50 organisations, the majority of which will be outside London. Libraries, museums and creative projects in areas in need of levelling up will benefit, with a further £150 million to be invested from the Cultural Investment Fund over the rest of the Spending Review period.

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