Arts Council England announcements commitment to the Selby district as one of 54 priority places nationally

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Today, Arts Council England has announced that the Selby district will be one of 15 priority places in the North 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 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 North, from Barnsley to Blackpool, South Tyneside to Kirklees, County Durham to Wigan, and Barrow-in-Furness to the Tees Valley, priority places recognises the need for cultural investment, and it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy high-quality cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods.

Selby is on an ambitious journey to embed arts, heritage and culture at the heart of its place-shaping agenda. A new Cultural Development Framework will create an infrastructure that seeks to retain talent and encourage creative growth. Selby District Council has invested significantly in town centre regeneration and in arts and cultural activity, as well as in a four-year Selby High Street Heritage Action Zone programme. Alongside recent funding in Selby Rail Station through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, this investment will create a foundation on which the cultural sector can thrive and develop. Since the beginning of the pandemic Selby has received £4,199,685 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

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 are just one of the ways in which the Arts Council is committed to levelling up by strengthening cultural and creativity opportunities in a targeted way. Investment will increase in a range of other locations through the 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 the Arts Council supports: 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).

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, says “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens. It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the government’s programme of levelling up. We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “I am pleased to see Selby announced today as one of our 15 priority places across the North. The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Selby to ensure that 
creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

“The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations during the pandemic. It is important that we now continue to invest in the cultural sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live. The launch of our Delivery Plan and announcement of a set of priority places shows our commitment to this.

“We have already seen the fantastic work that Selby Council has been able to do with investment from the Arts Council during the Selby 950 celebrations. I look forward to seeing this journey continue for the district as they become one of our priority places.”

Selby District Council’s Lead Executive Member for Health and Culture, Councillor Tim Grogan adds “This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole of the Selby district and will provide a real boost to the arts, cultural and creative opportunities that are on offer here. We’re already working hard to build on what we did for the Selby 950 celebrations and to provide opportunities for our local creative and hospitality sectors to embrace what makes our District special as a visitor destination and overall great place to live.

“Becoming an Arts Council priority place will help us deliver more ambitious projects that will benefit both residents and businesses across the district and bring more investment here.

“We’re an ambitious district, working hard to support the people and places that make this district great, and this has been recognised by the Arts Council. This news, along with our long-term plans for regeneration in the district which includes projects such as the Selby Station gateway project and the regeneration of Sherburn and Tadcaster, should be welcomed by us all.”

Find out more here.