Following the announcement that Newcastle City Council approved £3m of funding into culture investment, Quadrant Smart sat down with Councillor Ged Bell to learn more.
Councillors in Newcastle have agreed to a £3m funding boost to support jobs, organisations and public health and wellbeing. The £622,500-a-year investment titled the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund (NCIF) has been agreed to continue until 2026.
Quadrant Smart spoke to Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for Employment and Culture, about the importance of the Fund. He explained: “Culture plays an important role in the life of the city, its residents and visitors. It provides employment for significant numbers of people, contributes to the development of inclusive, connected communities, and has a positive impact in education, on health and well-being and on quality of life.”
The Fund invests in organisations and activities across Newcastle, that impact on:
- Inclusion and connectivity – engaging and connecting local people, particularly those with protected characteristics, through creative activity.
- Equality – ensuring that all local people have access to appropriate and fulfilling creative opportunities.
- Education – encouraging and supporting the development of creative teaching and learning in schools across the city.
- Decent Neighbourhoods & Creative Communities – helping to ensure that communities across the city are good and creative places to live.
- Health & Wellbeing – encouraging and enabling good mental and emotional health through high-quality individual and collaborative creative endeavour and achievement.
Promoting a sustainable culture
Hoping to help Newcastle rebuild following the effects of the pandemic, the fund will reignite the vibrance of the city as it injects funding into its culture.
“By investing in our cultural infrastructure and assets so that they can operate effectively and safely, it will continue to provide opportunities for local people and visitors and catalyse the recovery of the visitor economy,” explains Ged.
Discussing the importance of the Fund in rebuilding the city, Ged tells Quadrant Smart: “Newcastle is rightly renowned as a leading cultural destination and we are proud to be the home to a large and vibrant community of world-class creative professionals and venues.”
Newcastle is rightly renowned as a leading cultural destination and we are proud to be the home to a large and vibrant community of world-class creative professionals and venues.
Not only will the Fund invest in culture, education, health, and wellbeing, but it will also help to tackle sustainability issues in the city. “Addressing the impacts of climate change and reducing our city-wide carbon footprint to net-zero by 2030 is a key priority for the city,” says Ged.
As part of a larger scheme of development and investment in the city, the NCIF funding will promote sustainable practices throughout Newcastle. Giles explains the importance of the Fund in promoting sustainability, stating: “We would hope to see efforts to reduce emissions generated from cultural activities and events, improve air quality, and encourage residents and visitors to use active and low carbon transport means to access venues.”
Hoping to boost morale and a sense of community in the wake of the pandemic, Ged added: “We must ensure that we support the [arts and culture] industry to recover and flourish once more.”