£15 million Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund Launched

A new fund has been launched to build a lasting regional legacy for the Great Exhibition of the North to be held in Newcastle and Gateshead next summer. The Exhibition will be the biggest event in England in 2018 and will showcase the best of Northern art, design and innovation. 

The £15 million Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will help further the impact of the Exhibition and pave the way for future cultural investment in the north of England like opening a new tech start-up center or renovating live music venues.

What are the core principles?

  • Towns and cities across the north of England can bid for a share of the fund.
  • Grants of up to £4 million are available to support major culture and tech capital projects.
  • Three or four large capital grants of around £3 - £4 million each are expected to be made.
  • Bids need to:
    • encourage sustainable cultural and creative regeneration in the North of England
    • benefit areas in the North of England that have historically had low levels of cultural and creative investment

Speaking about the Fund, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one, and this £15m fund will give a boost to the region’s vibrant culture and tech sectors”.

Who can apply?

The first round of bids will be coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships. LEPs are asked to invite and manage bids within their area and can collaborate across LEP areas if desired.  However, only one bid is permitted per LEP which means some prioritisation is likely to be required. 

What is the fund for?

The fund is for capital projects that lead to at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Increased opportunities for people, including children and young people, to experience and be inspired by culture and creativity.
  • Better quality of life and wellbeing within local communities.
  • More resilient and sustainable cultural and creative organisations.
  • Innovative and effective partnerships between the cultural and creative sector and other sectors, especially digital and technology sectors.
  • Increased investment and economic growth.
  • Support for a Local Enterprise Partnership’s cultural growth strategy, where such a strategy exists.

A tight funding schedule

Funds are available for investment over a three year period from 2018/19 – 2020/21 and funding can be drawn down in one or more of the years requested. Although It is anticipated that most bids will be for later years, priority will be given to projects that can spend funding during 2018-19, i.e. projects that are at an advanced stage to deliver early spend will be viewed favourably.

Next steps

The deadline for LEPs to submit bids is 30th November 2017 but there will be a need to work back from this date to identify a prioritised bid in cases where multiple potential bid opportunities have been identified. Funding awards will be announced by end March 2018, with drawdown of funds commencing from April 2018.

What will make a winning bid?

Get in touch with us and we can help you consider the following for example:

  • Is it clearly endorsed by the LEP to show that the scheme is a priority for partners?
  • Is it appropriate for the local area and embedded within it, for example by supporting a local cultural strategy and demonstrating how local residents will be engaged in and benefit from activities.
  • Is it investment ready to ensure that spend can be incurred within a relatively short timescale and provide greater certainty around the generation of short term benefits.
  • Is it clearly presented, allowing a first time reader to understand the scope of the investment proposition and the proposed use of the final facility.

How can ekosgen help?

ekosgen has a strong track record of working on both the applicant and client side to develop and appraise/prioritise proposals respectively. Our team works with LEPs across the country, helping to assess project options and identify those with the greatest ability to deliver LEP objectives and offer a strong return on investment to help prioritise proposals.

Working closely with applicants to develop and refine bids for submission is a key strength. We have worked on cultural regeneration schemes both large and small, for example researching artists’ studio requirements and assessing the impact of cultural organisations through to successfully making the case for Government investment in Factory.

If you require support with appraising options or with preparing bids, please contact a member of our consultancy team in Sheffield or Manchester on 0845 644 5407 or 0845 644 3023.