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A cultural powerhouse: Northern cities to receive £15m creativity boost 16 August 2017

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The UK’s culture secretary Karen Bradley has revealed that the north of England will receive £15 million to boost culture and creativity around the region.

The Northern Powerhouse is to receive a £15 million cultural boost ahead of ‘The Great Exhibition of the North’ in an attempt to create a lasting regional legacy. Earlier this month, with backing from the government, culture secretary Karen Bradley announced the funding, explaining that it will help to “develop inspirational projects that could have a transformative local effect".

While northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool are thriving in terms of economic growth and prosperity, the cultural boost is being welcomed with open arms. It will contribute to promoting each city to tourists, students, those looking to relocate their businesses, and young professionals who may be looking to the regions for somewhere new to live.

According to the BBC, the funding comes after the government scrapped projects in the north to instead back a £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London. Minister of the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry commented: "The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one, and this £15m fund will give a boost to the region's vibrant culture and tech sectors.

"We've already invested over £3.4 billion for projects to boost local economies in the Northern Powerhouse, and this latest funding will help make sure the Great Exhibition of the North creates a legacy for years to come."

How will the fund boost each sector?

With what is being titled the ‘Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund’, towns and cities in the north will be able to apply for grants of up to £4 million per project. This can include projects such as setting up a new tech start-up centre, or renovating old music venues.

Once the proposals for each project have been submitted and reviewed, the successful applicants will be announced in March 2018. If all of the funding has not been allocated, another round may follow this. The Local Enterprise Partnerships will coordinate the first round of bids in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, York, North Yorkshire, Teesside, Sheffield, North East, Lancashire, Humber, East Riding, Cumbria, and Cheshire and Warrington.

A cultural powerhouse

In summer 2018, Newcastle and Gateshead will play host to the Great Exhibition of the North, an event that will showcase the best of northern art, design and innovation, and will be free to the public. According to the government, the exhibition will be the biggest event in England in 2018.

With her announcement, Ms 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.”

The importance of creativity

In Leeds, the cultural boost is likely to aid the city in its bid for the ‘European Capital of Culture 2023’, transforming the region with activities, cultural events and state of the art facilities.

The benefits of a thriving cultural scene for any city can be numerous, especially when it comes to further investment in the north. With a desirable cultural scene in cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, businesses and professionals are more likely to relocate their offices to the north. Not only does working in a cultural city mean that professionals can have an exciting work-life balance, but it can also help mental wellbeing.

Are you interested in working in the north? Learn more today.


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