Greater Manchester selected as national pilot area, exploring how arts and heritage activity can improve economic performance, education, community cohesion and health and wellbeing
Greater Manchester has been selected as a national pilot area for Arts Council England (ACE), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic England’s innovative Great Place scheme. Great Place is designed to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities across England.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) was awarded £1,489,255, the maximum permitted under the scheme, for a three year project, Stronger Together - A culturally democratic city region without borders.
Stronger Together will see all ten Greater Manchester districts work together to create a genuine shift in the way Greater Manchester approaches culture, ensuring greater parity of provision throughout the ten boroughs, improving engagement and access, developing and diversifying our cultural workforce, encouraging greater movement between the ten boroughs and improving health outcomes for our residents.
Councillor Alex Ganotis, Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead Member for Culture, Arts and Leisure said: “I’m delighted that Greater Manchester has been selected as one of the national Great Place pilots. Arts, culture and heritage are part of Greater Manchester’s DNA and this funding will ensure they are part of our future story.
“We want to maximise the impact of our rich arts, culture and heritage offer across the whole city-region. With so many fantastic museums, galleries, facilities and historic sites across our city-region we’re brilliantly suited to the task.
“This award will allow us to work with arts, culture and heritage organisations to benefit individuals and communities in each of our towns and cities. We’re going to demonstrate that through intelligent and collaborative working, culture creates real economic and social benefit for our whole city region.”
The project will draw on the excellent arts and heritage provision and expertise that currently exists across Greater Manchester, with organisations as diverse as The Halle, Bury Art Museum, HOME, Bolton Octagon, Manchester International Festival, MadLab, Greater Manchester Arts, Manchester Museum and Old Court Arts, working across the whole city region.
Dave Jenkins, Managing Director of Old Courts Arts at the Mill, Wigan added: "What brilliant news for all of the residents of Greater Manchester! This will enable us all to open up culture and the arts to all 2.7 million people wherever they live and from all backgrounds."
The Great Place pilot funding will be used to develop:
· A greater understanding of cultural provision, use and ambition across Greater Manchester, allowing us to better target provision, maximise resources and remove duplication.
· An increase in cultural participation across the entire city region, with a focus on communities not currently engaged in arts or heritage activity.
· A genuine sense of resident empowerment, ownership and pride in the distinct culture of Greater Manchester that will enable us to better communicate the strength of our offer and attract visitors.
· Recognition of the role culture and heritage can play in delivering wider Greater Manchester priorities
· A better skilled workforce able to serve the growing cultural sector in Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on increasing the diversity of our arts and heritage workforce.
· A more sustainable sector that can demonstrate value of investment in culture on the economic prosperity and health and wellbeing of its residents.
Greater Manchester will lead the way in creating sustainable approaches to local support for culture that can be shared, adapted and replicated throughout England.
Greater Manchester currently invests £3m per year in culture through its Section 48 Grants. The formalisation of a Combined Authority-wide portfolio for culture in 2016 further demonstrated GMCA’s commitment to place art, culture and heritage at the heart of its growth and reform agenda. Greater Manchester will use this support and its position as the Combined Authority with the most developed devolution deal to lead the way in creating sustainable approaches to local support for culture. There will be a focus on four key areas:
· Arts, heritage and health
· Education, skills and training
· Culture at the heart of city and town centres
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England, said: “The Great Place Scheme intends to put culture at the heart of local communities. The National Lottery funding we are investing through this scheme in towns, cities and rural areas across the North will bring both economic and social benefits.”
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West, said: “Greater Manchester is a vibrant beating heart of the North, a place of great cultural diversity and community pride. With the first mayoral election just around the corner, this National Lottery investment promises to build on that legacy at a time of change. By strengthening networks and creating partnerships this exciting project aims to support a sustainable future for arts, culture and heritage while promoting the health and wellbeing agenda for people and communities across all ten boroughs of the city.”