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LGA - Creative industries can play a key role in the COVID-19 recovery

Councils across the country are backing the creative industries to help drive economic recovery in local areas, the Local Government Association and Creative Industries Federation set out yesterday.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, has published a guide to help councils to support their local creative industries recover from the coronavirus pandemic and to boost the creative economy.

Latest government statistics show that creative industries - including small and medium businesses and organisations that specialise in arts, culture, design, music and TV & film - contribute more than £111 billion to the UK economy.

Many councils are trying to continue supporting the creative industry in their local areas, despite significant funding pressures as a result of the pandemic.

The handbook will help councils learn from best practice when looking to implement new creative economy strategies in their areas, ensuring that the creative industries can play a key role in the national economy recovery.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:

“Local creative industries can be the cornerstone of recovery for our communities and local economies from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Councils have a unique perspective of viewing the creative economy through place and this guide will help councils across the country to unlock the potential of their creative communities to bounce forwards towards a better society and economy.

“We are calling on the Government to support this work and to ensure that councils retain the planning powers they need to curate their communities and grow their local economies.”

Caroline Norbury MBE, Chief Executive of Creative Industries Federation & Creative England said:

“Our creative sector is an economic powerhouse. The creative industries bring people into our towns and cities. They are intrinsic to building atmosphere, to a sense of place and civic pride, and investment into creativity is critical if we want to level-up the country.

“In order to build back better, we must learn from the past. Research shows that following the 2008 financial crash, previously strong regional creative sector growth trends fell away, and growth coalesced around fewer clusters once more. Experience shows that when crisis hits, the regions suffer. As we plan for an economic recovery, regional focus is key. We need to use local knowledge and devolved power to build tailored, community-owned responses from the bottom up.”

Case studies

Examples of councils taking supportive action for the creative industries include:

  • Luton Council has used their licensing powers to develop a successful offer for creative enterprises in the town to diversify the night-time economy. The council’s Town Centre Framework Plan identified eight areas for development, including a new cultural quarter which has helped to create a more vibrant town centre.
  • Cornwall Council has co-funded with the ERDF and Arts Council England a bespoke creative skills and business support programme – Cultivator, led by Creative Kernow. It has supported more than 6,000 businesses and uses industry specialists as advisors and offers mentoring, employment bursaries, funding advice and networking events. It is entering its second phase with a focus on enabling innovative interventions.
  • Cheshire East Council is creating a skills programme designed to provide their thriving digital and gaming creative cluster with the employees they need but to help train young vulnerable people. It offers an initial tasting session after which young people can work towards an accredited award with representatives from local companies in structured sessions over an eight or 16-week period.
  • The Kent and Medway Cultural Transformation Board has helped to create a new vision and ambition for the local creative economy. By enabling collaborative working, it allows partners to work up joint bids which, with small amounts of match funding from KCC, are ready to be submitted when larger funding opportunities arise.  Recently this model has proved successful with four schemes combining as a single project called ‘Pioneering Places’ to win £1.5 million from the Great Places fund, £500,000 from the Cultural Destinations fund for ‘England’s Creative Coast’ and £4.3 million from the Cultural Development Fund for ‘Creative Estuary’.

Notes to editors

Creative Places: how can councils support the creative economy? - webinar

You can read the LGA’s ‘Councils’ role in supporting their local creative economy’ here.

The LGA published a handbook about writing a cultural strategy in March 2020, ‘Cultural Strategy In A Box’.

The LGA’s ‘Culture-led regeneration: achieving inclusion and sustainable growth’ can be found here.

Creative Industries Federation research shows that following the 2008 financial crash, previously strong regional creative sector growth trends fell away, and growth coalesced around fewer clusters once more.

Creative industries have been defined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as ‘those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation’. These include small and medium businesses and organisations that specialise in arts, culture, design, music and TV & film.

Original article link: https://www.local.gov.uk/creative-industries-can-play-key-role-covid-19-recovery

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