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£15M cultural legacy for North

A number of bids have been submitted by towns across Northern England to the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

Designed to provide a legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North, the £15M fund will support major culture and tech capital projects.

In total, 11 towns and cities have submitted bids for funds, with projects ranging from the redevelopment a former cinema into a live music venue, to building four giant brick towers, and creating the world’s biggest digital artwork.

The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will make grants of up to £4M available to support major culture and tech capital projects.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: “These hugely exciting bids demonstrate the scale of cultural ambition across the region, and reflect the great diversity of Northern towns and cities. This £15M fund will mean that as many people as possible benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North and it is fantastic that so many communities have recognised the transformative potential of culture, design and innovation.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, said: “The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will help communities show the world how the great art and culture, design and ingenuity of the North shapes all our lives. It also gives regions the chance to bid for funding for projects which deliver transformative change for local residents while firmly placing the North at the forefront of arts and culture in the UK.”

The first round of bids have been coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Humber, Lancashire, Leeds City Region, Liverpool City Region, North East, Sheffield City Region, Tees Valley, York and North Yorkshire and East Riding.

The funding has been warmly welcomed, providing both a boost to the Northern Powerhouse, and building on the impact of next year’s Great Exhibition of the North. The free family-friendly exhibition, held in Newcastle and Gateshead, will showcase the best of Northern art, design and innovation, it is set to be the biggest event in 2018.

The immersive event is supported by £5M of government funding and hopes to engage communities and businesses from across the region, and promote the bustling and thriving area to the world.

Successful bids to the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will encourage sustainable cultural and creative regeneration in the North of England and benefit areas that have historically had low levels of cultural and creative investment. The successful projects will be announced in March 2018.

The bids are:

  • Cheshire and Warrington: A bid to create a world class cultural centre for children, young people and their families in Ellesmere Port.
  • Cumbria: investment in Windermere Jetty, Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, and Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum.
  • Greater Manchester: A bid to create a landmark young people’s creative venue in Rochdale.
  • Humber: A bid to create the world’s biggest digital artwork through 70,000 individually controlled LED lights, using the Humber Bridge as a canvas.
  • Lancashire: A bid to create The Amuseum – Britain’s first museum telling the story of British popular entertainment.
  • Leeds City Region: A bid to transform the former Bradford Odeon cinema into a 4,000 capacity live music, entertainment and events venue.
  • Liverpool City Region: A bid to build on the success of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax by creating Eureka! Merseyside.
  • North East: A bid to establish a new cultural attraction in Sunderland – ‘National Centre for Imagination’ – focusing on young people’s creativity and imagination, including an institute of performing arts.
  • Sheffield City Region: A bid for a major public art project in Sheffield, entitled Onwards and Upwards, that will comprise of a mile-long trail of four sculptural red chimneys to replace the demolished Tinsley cooling towers.
  • Tees Valley: A bid to develop a major railway heritage visitor attraction in Tees Valley as part of a wider programme to create a ‘Railway Heritage Quarter’.
  • York and North Yorkshire and East Riding: A bid for a project, entitled Constellations: Illuminating Yorkshire’s Coast, to create landmark light installations in six key locations on the North Yorkshire coast.


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