Arts and culture venues in England to share in £48m fund to secure future

More than 60 organisations across the country will receive a slice of the funding.

Bletchley Park Trust undated handout photo of the mansion at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers.

By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

Arts and culture venues in England are set to share £48 million of funding to support their recovery and safeguard their future.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced that 63 galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural venues will benefit from the support.

It has said that the funding is part of the Government’s levelling up drive to “improve people’s access to the arts” and “power economic growth through culture”.

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The fund will see the £48 million allocated through three streams – £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund.

The North East and North West of England are to receive the most funding, with each area getting more than £9 million.

Recipients of the funding include Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, which was once the secret home of Second World War codebreakers, and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Support will also go to smaller venues such as True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in Norfolk, which celebrates 900 years of the fishing industry, and heritage sites including the 18th century Berwick Barracks in Northumberland.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

External conservators Matthew Packer (left) and Tim Martin, as they install a cannon, made in 1826, on its return to Berwick-Upon-Tweed Barracks following major conservation (English Heritage/PA)

The Cultural Development Fund aims to “give people access to arts and culture in areas with historically low levels of cultural engagement” and “boost economic growth”, according to the DCMS.

Seven regional organisations will receive funding through this package for regeneration projects, including around £4 million for Barnsley Museums in Yorkshire.

Middlesbrough Council has received a similar amount for projects including creating a printmaking facility, a new studio and a gallery space at The Auxiliary warehouse.

While the Libraries Improvement Fund is assisting 25 libraries to upgrade their buildings and digital infrastructure.

Thirty-one museums across England will also be supported by the Museum Estate and Development Fund to help fund infrastructure projects and maintenance works.

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Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester Museum & Art Gallery and the National Justice Museum in Nottingham are among the recipients.

Darren Henley, chief executive officer for Arts Council England, said: “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play.

“This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”

The Government’s commissioner for cultural recovery and renewal, Lord Neil Mendoza, added: “The Cultural Investment Fund was a major commitment in the election manifesto.

“It has already helped places like Grimsby and Plymouth. Today’s announcement highlights steadfast and needed support for museums and libraries.

“We also see a new set of impressive, culture-led regeneration projects all around the country from Torbay to Middlesbrough. Levelling up in action.”

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