Wakefield’s successful cultural funding bid pumps over £4million into district
Wakefield has beaten off stiff competition from across the country to get a £4.4million boost to support the growth of its cultural and creative industries and the creation of a home-grown highly skilled creative workforce.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
Wakefield Council's bid was one of only five in the country to be successful in getting a slice of the £20m Cultural Development Fund, in the first Government investment of its kind.
The funding, which was confirmed by Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport today (Friday 18 January), is another step towards achieving the Council's ambitious plans for Wakefield to become the creative hub of the North.
The district is already making a significant mark in the culture and creative world. It is home to internationally-acclaimed cultural attractions such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth Wakefield and Production Park, a world famous live events company.
This new multi-million pound investment aims to bring 600 new jobs to the district and will be used to support new and established creative businesses, nurture new creative talent, and help develop new skills to create a strong creative workforce.
A key part of the plan will deliver an exciting and innovative new hub created in Wakefield city centre to provide a home for established entrepreneurs and new businesses, providing skills training for students and space for artists.
The Leader of Wakefield Council, Councillor Peter Box CBE said: "We have a clear ambition that will see Wakefield become a significant cultural and creative destination in the North of England.
"The funding announced today will help create a dynamic, skilled workforce developing home-grown creative talent. We intend to bring together established and new creative enterprises and businesses, entrepreneurs, students and artists in an innovative, exciting new home in the city centre.
"We will boost the world renowned creative industry we already have in Wakefield, as well as creating a vibrant, culturally rich environment to attract new business and investment. With this funding, we move yet another step closer to Wakefield becoming known as the 'creative hub' of the North."
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: "Creativity, arts and heritage make our towns and cities unique and our communities better places to live. The Cultural Development Fund will support tailored local plans that use culture to create jobs, boost tourism and ultimately regenerate communities.
"This is an incredible opportunity for Wakefield to harness the strength of its creative industries to make the region a go-to destination in this area, attracting talent from all over the country."
The project will also provide targeted support for early start up in creative industries such as gaming, arts and design, to help them grow and maximise their chances of success. It will also help small organisations to scale up and offer access to creative opportunities to people who don't usually get the chance to work in this type of industry.
The programme of activity is expected to start in April 2019.
Partners supporting the Council's bid are Production Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth Wakefield, and Wakefield College. Theatre Royal Wakefield, NOVA, The Art House, WeareIVE, Team 17 Digital, Creative England, Contendia Limited