North East Devolution and Levelling Up

More cash to level up culture

Berwick and Middlesbrough are among recipients of a second announcement within a month of government funding to level up cultural assets.

More than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural venues across the country will benefit from £48m announced by the Department for Culture, Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Among them, Middlesbrough Council will receive £4,250,000 for projects including creating a printmaking facility, a new studio and a gallery space at The Auxiliary warehouse and to fund new event spaces and a gallery at the Carnegie Library and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

English Heritage will receive £4,200,000 for its work at Berwick Barracks, turning it into a year-round cultural venue with refurbished gallery and cinema spaces.

Kate Mavor, chief executive at English Heritage, which manages Berwick Barracks, said:

‘This major grant will help to breathe life into Berwick Barracks, unlocking and bringing back into use empty buildings and spaces within this immense site, right in the heart of Berwick town.

‘Our Living Barracks project is incredibly exciting – saving an important historic site, providing badly needed employment and investment, and creating a new cultural, residential and commercial space for Berwick’.

The DCMS said the £48m grants were a major part of the levelling up drive to improve people’s access to the arts, support cultural assets, and power economic growth through culture.

More than 60 organisations in England will receive a slice of the funding which is being released as part of the government’s Cultural Investment Fund which was first unveiled in 2019.

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 [March 12] 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’.

Last month the Government announced an additional £75m of arts funding, which will be distributed by 2025 to places that have been culturally under-served in the past as part of its work to level up access to the arts. All local authorities in the North East except Newcastle and Gateshead will benefit.