Lincolnshire to get major boost in arts and culture funding from ‘levelling up’ plans

Five Lincolnshire districts are among 16 in the East Midlands to be prioritised for a share of £75 million in extra cultural funding.

The International Bomber Command Centre has been among Lincolnshire attractions to benefit from government cultural funding already. EMN-220223-122247001
The International Bomber Command Centre has been among Lincolnshire attractions to benefit from government cultural funding already. EMN-220223-122247001

Redistribution of Arts Council England funding as part of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda will see cultural organisations in the region benefit from increased investment including those in North Kesteven, South Holland, Boston, West and East Lindsey.

The news comes as the Culture Secretary today (Wednesday) announces that by 2025 areas outside London will benefit from a £75 million boost in cultural funding.

Cultural investment outside London via the Arts Council is expected to rise to almost £250 million by 2025 – the equivalent to a 19 per cent increase by the final year of the Spending Review period.

Arts Council England (ACE), which will oversee the distribution of the funds, will see its overall budget increase over the period.

Levelling Up for Culture Places were identified by the government and ACE as areas of historic low cultural engagement and spending.

The government set out a commitment to raise cultural spending significantly outside the capital in its Levelling Up White Paper. ACE currently spends £21 per head in London and an average of £6 per head in the rest of England.

Officials say the boost in financial support will ensure a better distribution of arts funding and increase accessibility and opportunity in areas which have been culturally under-served in years gone by.

Areas in the East Midlands are part of more than 100 ‘Levelling Up for Culture Places’ which will be targeted.

Organisations old and new will be encouraged to bid for funding. The exact figure for each region will become clear over the next few months as it depends on the funding bids from organisations in each area.

The East Midlands is already home to a number of organisations which receive ACE support including the Nottingham Playhouse, Derby Museums, and New Perspectives Theatre Company.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Everyone should have access to culture, regardless of their background or where in the country they happen to live.

“There is a wealth of untapped creative potential across the East Midlands, and this funding redistribution will help to unlock it.

“We are taking these steps to ensure cultural organisations are given the support they need to engage and inspire more people as we look to level up access to culture across the whole country.”

The East Midlands has already benefited from nearly £70 million from the Culture Recovery Fund, including a number of Lincolnshire attractions such as the International Bomber Command Centre. More than 60 per cent of this unprecedented fund has been spent outside London.

The IBCC received its £315,000 funding in December.

Nicky van der Drift, IBCC Chief Executive, said at the time: “This funding forms an essential part of protecting the heritage of Bomber Command for the future, supporting the Centre following the devastating impact of COVID on the finances. It also enables us to move forward, developing elements across heritage, education, outreach and accessibility to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the project.

“We are enormously grateful to the Government for their support in protecting the memories of those who served their country to protect our freedoms.”

North Kesteven is also spending some of its Welcome Back Fund grant on creating a brand new RiverLight arts and culture festival in Sleaford centred around the River Slea in March to attract more visitors back into the town centre.

The government will shortly also announce the recipients of £48 million from the latest round of the Cultural Investment Fund package. This funding will go to more than 50 organisations, the majority of which will be outside London. Libraries, museums and creative projects in areas in need of levelling up will benefit.