Culture in Newcastle is set to receive a significant boost after councillors agreed a £3m funding boost to continue to support jobs, organisations and public health and wellbeing.
At a Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet on January 18, 2021, councillors gave the green light to continue the local authority’s £622,500-a-year investment into the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund (NCIF) through until 2026.
Created in 2012, the NCIF serves as the city council’s principal mechanism for investing in the independent cultural sector.
In the past three years alone, the money invested into the fund has helped support 46 projects and organisations to directly engage with almost 275,000 people, as well as helping to attract more than £3.4m in additional funding.
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “Culture will play a key role in helping our city to recover from the effects of this pandemic, supporting economic development, public health, and quality of life.
“We are therefore delighted to continue our support for one of our region’s key industries and hope, after what has been an exceptionally tough year, that this funding can help our world class creative professionals and organisations to recover and once again flourish, having a positive impact on all of our lives.”
This latest funding for the NCIF, which also includes a separate but related contract to support other fundraising efforts, will in the immediate future be targeted towards securing the future of the city’s cultural assets, sustaining them during the remaining months of the pandemic and then enabling them to function productively under any ‘new normal’ which may follow.
A range of organisations have already made bids for NCIF sustainability grants for 2021/22 and these applications can now progress with the money having been confirmed by the local authority.
In the years following these initial focuses, the emphasis for the culture fund will then change to reflect Newcastle’s new Culture Vision and the priorities of its Culture Compact.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, added: “Culture plays such an important role in the life of the city and by investing in our people and organisations we hope to see that continue.
“The benefits of this ongoing investment are there for all to see.
“It makes a significant contribution to Newcastle’s profile and reputation; provides employment for significant numbers of people; contributes to the development of inclusive communities; has a positive impact in education, on health and well-being and on quality of life; and attracts significant investment to the city each year.”