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£6.3m ACE cash pumped into areas with low cultural engagement

Director Victoria Firth outside the Lawrence Batley Theatre Director Victoria Firth outside the Lawrence Batley Theatre, which will lead on engagement boosting work in Kirklees
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Seven areas with low cultural engagement have received a share of £6.3 million to encourage people to get involved with the arts.

Sunderland, Corby and Peterborough are among places being targeted by the Arts Council England funding, which will help local companies organise events and strategies to widen arts participation.

Organisations in Swale and Medway were also funded as part of the project, as well as those in Kirklees, St Helens and Corby.

In each area, a lead organisation will head up the engagement programme, including the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Kirklees, which has received £1 million.

All seven areas had already received funding as part of the Creative People and Places scheme, but have now been promised a further three years of support.

Creative People and Places has now funded 21 places in the UK to boost arts participation, supporting 2,300 projects and events.

More than 1.2 million people have taken part in these events, of which the Arts Council claimed 90% do not regularly engage with the arts.

Arts Council England’s director of audience engagement Phil Cave said it was “inspiring” to see that the chosen locations wanted to go further with their participation work.

“They want more people to experience and be inspired by the arts, and want communities to feel empowered to take the lead in shaping their local arts provision,” he said.

“It’s fantastic that with this new funding these Creative People and Places projects can continue to make a difference in those communities. We’re looking forward to seeing them build on their achievements to date, and these new projects coming to life,” he added.

Last year five locations including Blackpool and Doncaster were awarded £5.2 million to boost arts audiences as part of the same scheme.

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