The UK government has pledged to provide a financial boost to over 70 arts organisations and cultural venues across the country. The aim is to increase access to the arts, while simultaneously supporting local economic growth through culture. The funding will also serve to safeguard vital local collections for future generations. Beneficiaries of the Cultural Investment Fund include museums, cultural venues, and public libraries across England.
The £58.8 million fund will be shared among various arts venues to upgrade and create new facilities as part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of location, can access the UK’s world-renowned culture. Basildon Borough Council, for example, will receive £4.4million to transform empty properties into a creative facility for screen and immersive digital industries. This project will help support businesses and freelancers working in film, TV, gaming, VFX, and animation sectors.
Bradford, UK City of Culture 2025, will also receive £4.9million to redevelop Kala Sangam, an intercultural arts centre, and other cultural assets to establish a network of local arts hubs. This funding will support the successful delivery of its year as the culture capital and beyond. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent will receive £5 million to build a wrap-around extension to improve facilities and accessibility and support local education, health, and wellbeing projects.
The Cultural Investment Fund, which totals more than £200 million, was launched in 2019 and is made up of three separate streams: the Cultural Development Fund, the Libraries Improvement Fund, and the Museum Estate and Development Fund. The aim is to protect and improve people’s access to culture, regenerate communities, upgrade buildings and digital infrastructure, and use investment to promote economic growth.
This funding announcement follows an extension of tax reliefs for theatres, orchestras, and museum and gallery exhibitions in the Spring Budget for a further two years. The tax reliefs have already supported thousands of productions, galleries, and museums across the country, and the extension is set to help the cultural sector continue to attract new talent and investment from home and abroad.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has stated that this investment will help level up access to arts and culture for everyone, and that culture helps to create lifelong memories with family and friends, provides entertainment and joy, and allows us to explore the world around us in new and exciting ways. Investment in creativity and culture, according to Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley, is a catalyst for improving well-being and raising aspirations, reinvigorating pride in communities, regenerating high streets and local economies, and bringing people together.