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£20m scheme to ‘unleash creativity across the nation’ announces five English winners

Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, which has been given £4.4 million to link up arts organisations. Photo: Ron Ellis/Shutterstock Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, which has been given £4.4 million to link up arts organisations. Photo: Ron Ellis/Shutterstock
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A creative hub on the Thames estuary and arts spaces built in Worcester’s railway arches are among the cultural projects awarded a share of £20 million from the government.

The money is part of the new Cultural Development Fund, which has been launched specifically to invest in local culture and heritage projects that will help drive economic growth and “unleash creativity across the nation”.

It is the first government investment of its kind, and the five winning areas were announced by culture secretary Jeremy Wright in January in a speech about the value of the arts.

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Each location will receive a share of the £20 million total, and through match funding, an additional £17.5 million will be invested across the areas – Wakefield, Grimsby, Plymouth, Kent Thames Estuary and Worcester.

The Kent Thames Estuary has been given £4.3 million to develop a “globally-significant creative production corridor”.

As previously announced by London mayor Sadiq Khan, the project will include a theatremaking complex in Bexley, part of a creative cluster that will also offer a programme of cultural research and development, training and mentoring and new arts commissioning.

Sadiq Khan sets out plan for theatre complex in new Thames Estuary creative hub

Worcester’s railway arches will be regenerated to provide affordable creative workspaces, with its £3 million going towards a cultural festivals programme in the city.

Grimsby will receive £3.2million to deliver an arts programme and public art to revive its town centre, while Wakefield has been given £4.4 million to link up organisations including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth gallery.

Elsewhere, £3.5 million will go towards Plymouth’s contribution to a cultural programme marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship’s voyage to the US, as well as other creative projects in the city.

Wright said: “The Cultural Development Fund will support tailored local plans that use culture to create jobs, boost tourism and regenerate communities.

“This is an incredible opportunity that will not only help people build careers in the arts and culture locally but also boost wider investment and diversify the creative economy.”

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