Cultural investment on the way to Mansfield

Mansfield is one of Arts Council England's 15 priority places where they want to develop new opportunities for investment as part of the publication of its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021-2024.

Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let's Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration and progress.

The publication of the Delivery Plan follows the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies. Driven by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, with the backing of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Culture Recovery Fund is the biggest one-off investment in culture from the Government in history, providing a vital lifeline to save our cultural sector and help organisations prepare for reopening.

Let’s Create was written just before the pandemic, but the vision still holds true and if anything, is even more critical now. Creativity and culture can, and should, play a part in helping to level up the country.

To help make this vision a reality the Delivery Plan names 54 priority places across England. Arts Council will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners. Across the East Midlands from Ashfield to East Lindsey and Boston to Chesterfield, priority places recognises the need for cultural investment, and it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy excellent cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods.

North Nottinghamshire is an area with significant opportunities for art and creativity to thrive. Ashfield and Mansfield have both been identified as priority places; there is scope and ambition from the local authorities for more of the local community to experience the benefits of engaging with creativity. Arts Council has supported First Art through the National Lottery – a Creative People and Places programme - with £937,500 for its work in increasing arts activity for locals – offering a platform to share the area’s creativity. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ashfield and Mansfield have received £513,181 from the Arts Council through the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. On the back of this investment, being a priority place will boost the growth of local opportunities for arts and culture through partnership and collaboration.

These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

In the last decade, the Arts Council has significantly shifted its investment outside of London. The aim in Let’s Create is to increase focus on specific places underserved in the past. Priority places is just one of the ways in which the Arts Council is committed to strengthening cultural and creativity opportunities in a targeted way. Investment will increase in a range of other locations through Arts Council’s own programmes such as Creative People & Places (budget for 2021-22 £23 million), the new Place Partnership fund (budget for 2021-22 £7 million), and the Government funding streams that Arts Council support: UK City of Culture (the City of Coventry has received nearly £21 million for 2021), and the Stronger Towns Fund (£1.6 billion fund from 2019 to 2026).

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Creativity brings people together, supports local economies and helps to improve lives – and we know investing in culture makes people happy and proud of the place they live.

“Arts and culture are an important part of every community, and as part of the Delivery Plan we’re pleased to be announcing these seven places in the East Midlands, where we look forward to building our support for the cultural and creative sector over the coming years.”

Councillor Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Growth and Regeneration, Mansfield District Council said: “We’re delighted to hear that Mansfield has been identified as a Priority Place by the Arts Council and earmarked for further investment over the coming years. We are already reaping the benefits of working closely with Arts Council funded projects to bring arts engagement to our community. Increased investment in our cultural infrastructure will help to transform the quality of life and raise aspirations in Mansfield for the long term. Arts and culture is an important part of our economy and integral to making Mansfield an ambitious, vibrant and confident place.”

Published: September 17th 2021