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19 Aug 2019

Arts Council England allocates £17.5m to local culture projects

Arts Council England has named 13 new additions to its Creative People and Places (CPP) project, which it says is about local people choosing, creating and taking part in the arts and culture on offer to them.

The new locations have been identified as having amongst the lowest engagement with arts and culture in the country. Between them, they will receive a total of £17.5m (US$21.3m, €19.2m) from the organisation's National Lottery contingency budget over the next four years.

This represents an increase of £5m (US$6m, €5.5m) on the figure that the council had originally intended to distribute in this latest funding round ‒ an increase caused, said the Arts Council, by the exceptionally high standard of applications received.

Each of the new CPP projects involves the forging of partnerships between local arts organisations and the community, giving people control over what they want to see and experience, rather than starting from the premise that people need more culture and imposing that upon them.

Since the Creative People and Places initiative started in 2013, there have been 21 projects, from which more than three million engagements have been achieved. Arts Council England said that most importantly the evidence showed that the people taking part in these projects are from groups that might not ordinarily engage with arts and culture.

Examples of previously funded CPP projects include support for an opera, The Batley Variations, telling stories of everyday life in Batley, performed by residents in a local social club; and Heart of Glass's Baa Baa Baric Have You Any Pull, a 12-year-long collaboration between artist Mark Storer and the people of St Helens – 12 years being the gap in life expectancy between men in St Helens and elsewhere in the UK.

The newly announced areas and partners joining the CPP are:

Bexley: Peabody Trust

Havering: Havering Theatre Trust

Wellingborough: Groundwork Northamptonshire

Newcastle Under Lyme: Stoke on Trent & North Staffordshire Theatre Trust

Dudley: Black Country Together

Bradford: Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Rotherham: Voluntary Action Rotherham

Barrow: Women's Community Matters

Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland: Teesside University

Basildon: Things Made Public CIC

Great Yarmouth: Voluntary Norfolk

Sedgemoor: Homes in Sedgemoor Limited

In addition, a separate grant has been awarded to Northumberland Museums to deliver the CPP Peer Learning Programme, which gives projects the opportunity to share activity and learn from each other, until the end of March 2022.

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