Stoke-on-Trent's cultural credentials have been given a £300,000 boost, at a time when the city is bidding to be the UK City of Culture in 2021.
The investment comes from Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations programme which gives arts and cultural organisations the resources they need to increase their reach and impact by working with the tourism sector.
Led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the £300,000 investment will support local arts and cultural organisations to team up with partners including Visit Stoke and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to attract visitors to the city.
The funding will support market research and evaluation, improved visitor information and the mapping out of a new year-round cultural programme for the city with seasonal highlights aimed at attracting visitors.
Councillor Terry Follows, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “This funding is a wonderful opportunity to develop cultural tourism in Stoke-on-Trent. Arts Council England is already providing funding to the city through the Creative People and Places programme. The scheme, delivered by Appetite, is having a huge impact on encouraging people to take part in arts activities and has already helped thousands of people experience and be inspired by art.
“This new funding will build on that by strengthening the visitor economy in the city. It will help us to improve infrastructure, developing sustainable and creative working partnerships between culture and tourism sectors. It comes at a fantastic time as we are bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021.”
Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader and lead member for Stoke-on-Trent’s City of Culture 2021 bid, said: “Our vision is to achieve a more joined-up approach to cultural tourism, creating a stronger year-round cultural offer with seasonal highlights to attract more and different types of visitors, especially visitors who make overnight stays and spend money in the local economy. Our city has a huge amount to shout about, from being the home to world-leading ceramic design and manufacture, to helping to be the birthplace of the Northern Soul movement, to displaying the Staffordshire Hoard, the biggest ever haul of Anglo Saxon gold, found right in the middle of Staffordshire. We have hundreds of highly creative businesses and individuals. We are committed to raising awareness of the many highlights that our city has to offer and this funding will help us to deliver that, improving our city’s cultural offer and linking to the City of Culture bid.”
A total of £800,000 will be invested in five projects across the Midlands.
Peter Knott, Midlands area director, Arts Council England, said: “This investment presents a really exciting opportunity
to put art, culture and creativity at the heart of plans to bring both domestic and international tourists to Stoke-on-Trent.
Over the coming years we hope to see these new partnerships and joined-up approach encourage growth in the local visitor economy.”