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Bradford and Morecambe among big winners in £58.8m culture fund handout

Morecambe Winter Gardens will receive £2.7m from government fund

Several Northern cultural organisations are among the winners as the government hands out a new pot of £58.8 million which will see arts and culture venues transformed, upgraded and created.

Among the biggest beneficiaries Bradford, UK City of Culture 2025, will receive £4.9 million to redevelop the intercultural arts centre Kala Sangam and other cultural assets, to establish a network of local arts hubs and support the successful delivery of its year as the culture capital and beyond.

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent will receive £5 million to build a wrap-around extension to improve facilities and accessibility and support local education, health and wellbeing projects.

Morecambe Winter Gardens will receive £2.743m. The site is a Grade II-listed building, originally built as the Victoria Pavilion Theatre in 1897 and was an extension to the existing Winter Gardens complex, which has since been demolished. The theatre closed to the public in 1977 and was listed the same year.

The Investment Development Fund comprises the Cultural Development Fund, Libraries Improvement Fund and Museum Estate and Development Fund.

The Libraries Improvement Fund has allocated £275,960 to St Helens Council Library Service, £198,872 to Manchester Libraries, and £151,520 to Oldham Council Libraries.

Other major awards include £898,405 to Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley, £974,673 to The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham and £673,826 to Queen’s Park Stores in Manchester.

Arts Council England will deliver the fund on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This investment will help to level up access to arts and culture for everyone, no matter where they live. Culture helps us create lifelong memories with our families and friends, provides entertainment and joy, and allows us to explore the world around us in new and exciting ways. It can also boost tourism, support local business and drive local economic growth.”

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England added: “Investment in creativity and culture is a catalyst for improving well-being and raising aspirations, reinvigorating pride in communities, regenerating high streets and local economies, and bringing people together. We are pleased to play a part in delivering the Cultural Investment Fund and this £58 million investment will help create new, or improve existing, cultural buildings and spaces in our villages, towns and cities. By doing so it will support recovery and growth and unlock the creative potential of those who live and work in communities across England.”

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