Arts Council England’s latest funding stream supports arts sector efforts to grow creative enterprise outside London. 

Photo of an outdoor music festival
The Arts Development Company will work to enhance Dorset's cultural festivals.

Neil Owen via Creative Commons

The first round of funding awards to help arts and cultural organisations contribute to local economic growth has been announced by Arts Council England (ACE), with £3.8m being awarded to nine projects across England.

Cash from the Creative Local Growth Fund will enable arts partnerships to join with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and other strategic bodies, to support small- and medium-sized enterprises in the creative and cultural sectors to grow and become more resilient. Economic development and job creation in the creative sector is the ultimate aim of the scheme.

Only projects outside London have been eligible for funding. Support for people running or planning to run their own creative businesses is central to all of them, although each project responds to specific regional issues.

Awards include £482k to the Arts Development Company for a programme linking cultural tourism, outdoor events, visual arts and enterprise development in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole; and £300k to the Goodwin Trust to extend business support to creative businesses and practitioners across Hull and East Yorkshire, targeting areas of deprivation and under-represented groups.

The scheme will attract more than £8.4m from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund for 2016-19, as well as £6.5m from other sources including universities, local authorities and the private sector.

A further round of Creative Local Growth funding will open in the autumn.

Liz Hill