Two-year Funding Investment For Councils Strategic Cultural Partners

Funding for the next two years has been agreed for South Lakeland District Council’s Strategic Cultural Partners.

SLDC’s Cabinet approved a total of £374,300 continued revenue funding over a two-year period for 12 organisations which contribute significantly to the district’s culture offer, ensuring stability through the transition phase of local government reorganisation.

In the past five years the council’s investment in SCPs has helped attract both capital and revenue investment of more than £35 million to the district, supporting their multi-million pound contribution to the local economy.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “Since its inception in 2012, our Strategic Cultural Partnership approach to funding culture has contributed immeasurably to the quality of life of South Lakeland residents, strengthened and enhanced the world-class cultural offer in the district, boosted economic prosperity and levered in additional economic and cultural investment.

“South Lakeland District Council recognises the value of public investment in culture and its value in supporting the wider ambition and delivery of economic, cultural, social and environmental priorities of the council which has helped to promote South Lakeland as a great place to live work and do business and as a leading rural cultural destination.

“I applaud the contribution our partners make to the district and am delighted that SLDC has been able to provide this two-year investment.”

The annual amounts agreed were:

  • Kendal Brewery Arts Centre – £67,500
  • Lakeland Arts – £27,500
  • Wordsworth Trust – £17,500
  • Grizedale Arts – £12,500
  • Kendal Mountain Festival – £10,000
  • Lakes Arts Festivals (delivering Lakes International Comic Arts Festival) – £10,000
  • Ruskin Museum – £5,000
  • Old Laundry Theatre – £5,000
  • Kendal Torchlight – £4,500
  • Lake District Summer Music (LDSM) – £13,050
  • Ulverston Community Enterprises (UCE) – £9,500
  • Highlights Rural Touring – £5,100

LDSM, Ulverston Community Enterprises and Highlights are designated hub organisations and their grants support partnership working with smaller groups. UCE acts as a hub for Ulverston International Music Festival, Printfest, South Cumbria Music Festival and Ulverston Lantern Festival; LDSM acts as a hub for classical music organisations Lakeland Sinfonia Concert Society, Westmorland Orchestra, Westmorland Youth Orchestra and Westmorland Music Trust; and Highlights Rural Touring acts as a hub organisation for the Heron Theatre Beetham.

Establishing funding for defined periods enabled a more strategic approach to cultural investment that further developed South Lakeland’s cultural and creative industries and provided organisations with confidence to plan more effectively whilst at the same time the council would be assured that longer-term strategic work and plans could be realised.

The council’s strategic approach to SCP funding has enabled organisations to lever significant levels of other funding investment for the benefit of the area from the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and significant national trusts and foundations. Some of the SCPs of the council are also National Portfolio Organisations of Arts Council England.

Cabinet members were told that there would be potential and opportunity for the new Westmorland and Furness Council, which comes into being in April 2023, to review the current portfolio of SCP organisations and investment within the first year of its operation.