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Dover named as a priority town for culture and creatively by Arts Council England

An arts group has recognised the "huge ambition" that Dover has to offer both culturally and creatively.

It comes as Arts Council England has released a list of 54 priority places which have opportunities for "investment, collaboration, and progress" that it will focus on over the next three years.

Dover has been recognised for its "huge ambition"
Dover has been recognised for its "huge ambition"

The list has been published as part of its Delivery Plan for 2021 - 2024, which sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let's Create.

The arts group hopes by 2030 England will be a country in which the "creativity of each individual is valued" and "where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences".

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 the cultural sector and help organisations prepare for reopening.

Dover has been recognised as a priority place due to its cultural and creative potential, say Arts Council England.

Dover town centre
Dover town centre

It added: "There is scope and ambition in partnership with the local authorities for more of the community to experience the benefits of engaging with creativity.

"In addition, as a popular tourist destination, the coastal area presents opportunities for culture and creativity to become an important part of its visitor offer."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dover has received £737,250 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. On the back of this investment, being a priority place will boost the growth of opportunities for arts and culture through partnership and collaboration.

Roger Walton, strategic director at Dover District Council said: "We are very pleased that Dover has been recognised as a priority place, and that our cultural, creative and tourism potential and ambition has been acknowledged in this way.

"This is an important recognition of our cultural ambitions for the future, and is great news for Dover and for all our local communities, and we look forward to working with the Arts Council building on the strong base of arts and cultural activities across our district.

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal. Picture: Office of Natalie Elphicke MP
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal. Picture: Office of Natalie Elphicke MP

"This comes as a range of exciting opportunities are starting to take shape, including proposals for a new creative centre in Dover and for the refurbishment of Dover’s Maison Dieu as a major cultural venue in the town."

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: "It is a welcome recognition for our rich historic heritage and active arts community that special status is being given to Dover, Deal and our district.

"I have been working hard with the Arts Council and Culture Ministers to ensure that our arts and heritage sectors are supported during the pandemic.

"This welcome announcement will help boost jobs and opportunities still further."

Hazel Edwards, south east area director at Arts Council England, said: “Our priority places approach provides a vital recognition that there are places across the country with huge ambition to embrace everything that culture can offer, but need more than just funding to make that happen.

"Through working strategically with local partners, we can bring them together and support them as they develop the local cultural infrastructure, which will in turn create vital opportunities for both artists and local communities. This work takes time and by establishing Dover as a priority place, we’re committing our time and expertise to work hand-in-hand with them as they develop their cultural offering and identity."

Elsewhere in Kent, Medway has also been listed as a priority place by the arts group.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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