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Portsmouth receives £1.1m funding package to grow creativity and culture

October 24, 2023

The people of Portsmouth are set to benefit from a £650,000 funding investment from Arts Council England. Award recipient Portsmouth Creates is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to growing the creative and cultural industries. The package will be spread over three years as part of the council’s National Lottery Project Grants Place Partnerships Fund.

The Place Partnership award will strengthen the city’s economic future and international reputation as a place for creative and cultural innovation.

This significant increase of investment into Portsmouth Creates has been made possible through the invaluable contribution of £450,000 from its Founding Partners: Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and Victorious Festival. These partnerships will continue to play a pivotal role moving forward- maximising not only the funding, but also their expertise and strategic alignment.

The successful bid aims to work with individuals and communities to build local capacity and highlight pathways, in turn attracting major new investment in the city.

An ambitious programme aims to drive growth, develop talent, and improve inclusivity across the sector. Plans include a Business Support Programme, Creative Directory, and Sector Mapping exercise to identify skill gaps and opportunities across the city.  Opportunities for young people include the development of a Youth Board Mentoring Scheme and Apprentice Programme, supporting the next generation of cultural leaders.

From 2024, Portsmouth will host high-profile events in the creative calendar such as the We Connect Annual Conference and We Shine 2024 and 2026. In 2025, a programme of citywide celebrations will spotlight Portsmouth’s iconic role within the world of literature.

Portsmouth Creates CEO Gemma Nichols said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that Arts Council England has supported our vision for developing the creative and cultural sectors across our city. As a Priority Place for Arts Council England, now is our time to ensure that the creatives, cultural organisations, and communities are given the skills and the confidence and opportunity to reach their full potential and beyond. Portsmouth is a city full of creativity, through our programme our aim is to unlock much more of this. Through this Place Partnership Funding we will be utilising placed-based working as a catalyst to create the step change needed in the city, working with multiple partners to transform Portsmouth’s cultural landscape.”

Councillor Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:

“We are thrilled that Portsmouth Creates has secured this funding from Arts Council England to help the city focus on the growth and evolution of our creative economy in Portsmouth.  As the Cabinet member responsible for culture and economic development I am committed to ensuring that our sector thrives and am proud to support this collaborative leadership from Portsmouth Creates.”

South West Area Director, Phil Gibby, said:

“We are delighted to announce a major new investment in Portsmouth today, thanks to the National Lottery. This funding, through Arts Council England’s Place Partnership Fund, reflects our confidence in the city’s ambitions to grow its cultural and creative sectors.

“The ambition outlined in this application shows place-based working at its best; with Portsmouth Creates bringing a range of partners together to create a step-change in the city. It will make a transformative difference to Portsmouth’s outstanding creative talent and we very much look forward to the journey ahead.”

Darren Henley, Arts Council England, Chief Executive, said:

‘We are thrilled to strengthen our support for Portsmouth as a priority place, fulfilling our ten-year strategy Let’s Create. We believe England should be a place where the creativity in each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish. Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, we can make this significant commitment to the city’s economy and talent pipeline, so that Portsmouth enjoys a rich cultural fabric for generations to come.’

Place Partnership delivery partners include Portsmouth City Council, University of Portsmouth, Victorious Festival, Shaping Portsmouth, Solent LEP, the Cultural Collective, and a host of Community Gateway Organisations facilitating a place-based solution to supporting the wider growth of Portsmouth’s creative economy.

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