Rochdale named as one of 15 priority places in North for Arts Council England

Date published: 24 September 2021

Rochdale has been named as one of 15 priority places in the North for Arts Council England to develop new opportunities for investment.

Each priority place has been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity.

Home to key cultural organisations such as Touchstones and M6 Theatre, and well-established venues including Middleton Arena, Rochdale is an area where there is “significant potential for arts and culture to thrive.”

Building on its heritage as the home of the very first modern co-operative movement, Rochdale has ambitious plans to work with partners, artists and local communities to increase access to culture through new co-operative leadership, delivery and co-production models and to grow cultural opportunities locally.

Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of Rochdale Borough Council said: “This is more welcome news for the borough.

“We know how important creativity and culture are and I’m sure residents will appreciate this investment. There is hard work ahead, but with Arts Council’s support, we are determined to do all we can to maximise the opportunity, bringing exciting events and projects across the borough and making our communities feel as engaged as possible.”

The announcement comes with the publication of Arts Council England’s three-year delivery plan for 2021-2024, part of its longer-term strategy entitled Let’s Create.

Written before the pandemic, Let’s Create aims for England to be “a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences” by focusing on specific places underserved in the past.

Arts Council England’s three-year delivery plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement this vision, highlighting opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress.

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 save the cultural sector and help organisations prepare for reopening.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Rochdale has received £1,137,509 investment from the Arts Council through the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

Jennifer Cleary, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “I am excited to announce that Rochdale is one of our 15 priority places across the North.

“The launch of our delivery plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Rochdale to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

“Public investment in the arts is vital and never more so than as we emerge from the pandemic. It has been fantastic to see the government’s commitment to art and culture through the Culture Recovery Fund which has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations.

“The launch of our delivery plan and announcement of a set of priority places affirms our commitment to investing in the sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live.

“In recent years Rochdale’s cultural offering has gone from strength to strength, through cultural organisations like Touchstones and M6 Theatre.

“I look forward to working with Rochdale’s local authority and cultural sector to support the town’s cultural ambitions.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new delivery plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens.

“It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the government’s programme of levelling up.

“We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

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