Arts Council England is offering grants through the Creative Local Growth Fund to help put culture at the heart of local economic growth plans. It will do this by:
- Securing long term partnership between LEPs, other local partners and the cultural sector.
- Helping to leverage support from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), and potentially other funds within the LEP area, into the cultural sector.
In particular, Arts Council England wants to see this programme supporting the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the creative and cultural sectors. The central aims of the fund are to:
- Secure long term partnership between LEPs, the Arts Council and other local partners to support the cultural sector.
- Lever European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment, and potentially investment from other ESIF funds within the LEP area, into the cultural sector.
- Enable the sector to become more resilient in line with Goal 3 of the ten-year strategy: Great art and culture for everyone.
- Deliver against at least one of the Arts Council’s other five goals in Great art and culture for everyone.
Grants made under this strategic fund should be used as match funding for investment delivering under ERDF, or from other ESIFs, for example the European Social Fund (ESF).
Eligible applications must be collaborative, for example, with one or more arts and/or cultural organisation working with LEPs and, potentially, other public sector bodies such as local authorities, further education colleges or universities.
A total of £3 million is available for the fund, with indicative budgets of £1.5 million being available in 2015/16 and £1.5 million in 2016/17.
Applicants can apply for grants between a minimum of £150,000 and a maximum of £500,000.
The kinds of activity funded could include:
- Skills development, apprenticeships and paid internships.
- Innovation, research and development.
- Partnerships with other sectors (private sector, higher and/or further education, other public agencies).
- Commercialisation of cultural products.
- Building digital capacity.
- SME and start-up business support.
- Development of specific creative industry clusters and the role of the arts sector within them.