Arts minister says £3m cash boost will improve lives in Wakefield

Matt Smith, Chief Executive of Key Fund with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis at Wakefield Theatre Royal.  Picture: Richard Doughty Photography
Matt Smith, Chief Executive of Key Fund with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis at Wakefield Theatre Royal. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography

A £3 million cash pot that will boost social and community projects in the north of England was revealed in Wakefield yesterday.

Creative and cultural organisations that provide a meaningful social impact in their communities will be able to bid for loans and grants of up to £150,000 of government money as part of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

Date: 29th August 2018.'Picture James Hardisty.'The installation of a new exhibit at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield. A large crane has been used to carefully positions sections of Crate of Air (2018), a 3.6m x 19.2m x 7.2m welded steel sculpture by Irish-born artist Sean Scully, ahead of his major YSP exhibition Inside Outside, which opens on 29 September 2018.

Date: 29th August 2018.'Picture James Hardisty.'The installation of a new exhibit at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield. A large crane has been used to carefully positions sections of Crate of Air (2018), a 3.6m x 19.2m x 7.2m welded steel sculpture by Irish-born artist Sean Scully, ahead of his major YSP exhibition Inside Outside, which opens on 29 September 2018.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis said: “Arts and culture can play a vital role in strengthening communities and improving people’s lives.

“The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will give institutions access to finance so they can deliver innovative projects that use the arts to make a real difference across the Northern Powerhouse.

“It will be left to local people and local organisations to manage, not politicians and bureaucrats in Whitehall.”

The announcement follows a separate £4.4 million pound fund for arts projects in Wakefield. That project – the Cultural Development Fund – is expected to bring as many as 600 jobs to the region and will see the former Market Hall on Union Street in the city centre converted into an arts hub.

Mr Ellis made the announcement at the Theatre Royal Wakefield before visiting the Hepworth and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Mr Ellis said: “Wakefield will certainly benefit. This is a multi-million pound investment that can assist the rich cultural heritage of this area and encourage visitors.”

He said Hull was “transformed” during its UK City of Culture year and Wakefield could reap the same kind of rewards.

The Northern Cultural Regeneration has committed to other projects in the north, including turning the former Odeon cinema in Bradford – which has been derelict for nearly 20 years – in a concert venue.

The project will run for two years from April.