Published: 00:01, 18 January 2019
| Updated: 12:20, 18 January 2019
Parts of Kent are set to receive a share of £4.3 million from the government money to help drive economic growth in the area.
The cash will come from the government's cultural development fund and is aimed at helping drive economic growth through investment in culture, heritage and the creative industries in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.
The funding has been announced by Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright and will kick start development to make the area a world leader for cultural and creative industries.
Culture minister Michael Ellis talks about the investment in Canterbury
Culture minister Michael Ellis visited the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury to talk about the new cash.
Led by the University of Kent in partnership with South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), the funding will be used to kick-start the first phase of their plans to turn the area in North Kent and South Essex into a world-leader for the cultural and creative industries.
The investment will be used to deliver Estuary 2020, an international arts festival reaching audiences in the area and across the world.
The programme will also support the creation of about 500 creative industry jobs, new workspaces in creative clusters like Margate, Medway and Southend and skills training for more than 200 people.
Sixty new apprenticeships will also be opened to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The £20 million cultural development fund has been launched by the government to use investment in heritage, culture and creativity as a catalyst for regeneration.
Towns and cities were invited to bid for funding for local cultural plans tailored to their strengths and needs.
The other winning areas are Grimsby, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Creativity, arts and heritage make our towns and cities unique and our communities better places to live.
"The cultural development fund will support tailored local plans that use culture to create jobs, boost tourism and ultimately regenerate communities.
“This funding will directly benefit young people and creative businesses across the Thames Estuary and further the region’s ambitions to be an international centre for culture and the arts.”
Professor Karen Cox, vice chancellor, University of Kent added: "This is fantastic news.
"The University of Kent welcomes the investment from the cultural development fund as it supports our commitment to collaborating with partners to drive innovation and economic growth in the region and above all to develop this part of the UK as one of the most attractive places to live, work and study.”
The fund was announced in the Creative Industries Sector Deal last year, and marks a step change in how the government is investing in culture.
It forms part of the government’s modern industrial strategy which has seen more than £150 million jointly invested by government and industry through the Creative Industries Sector Deal to help cultural and creative businesses across Britain thrive and consolidate the country’s position as a global creative and cultural powerhouse.
The award has been made to the University of Kent, on behalf of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor Partnership, a partnership involving the South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN) and South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Kent and Essex County Councils, 11 local authority areas represented by Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and Opportunity South Essex, the GLA, Royal Docks and seven East London boroughs, University of Kent, University of Essex, and cultural organisations Metal and Whitstable Biennale.
Sarah Dance, co-chair of South East Creative Economy Network said: “This award is a vote of confidence and a testament to the long-term partnership within the South East, acknowledging the potential for the further growth of the creative industries."
Christian Brodie, chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Creative industries employ more than 30,000 people and generate £25bn worth of GVA across our area, making them a vitally important contributor to our economy.
“The Thames Estuary corridor is unique in its position, offering access to London markets and with land available for development. This is being recognised and capitalised on by our creative industries.
“This announcement of Government support for the Creative Estuary programme is testament to the collaborative working and tireless efforts of a number of bodies to promote the creative industries on both sides of the Thames Estuary.”