Culture Secretary celebrates northern creativity in Manchester

Culture Secretary celebrates northern creativity in Manchester as hundreds of UK firms get funding to help them grow

Hundreds of creative businesses will benefit from more than £10 million of targeted support

  • Culture Secretary hosts WeCreate conference in Manchester to meet with businesses in the creative industries and forge ahead with plans to grow creative industries by £50 billion by 2030
  • Six areas across England awarded share of £10.9 million to scale up hundreds of creative industry businesses, boosting access to private finance and business support
  • Grassroots music venues, promoters and festivals across England encouraged to apply for share of £5 million investment to help develop new audiences and income opportunities 

Hundreds of creative businesses will benefit from more than £10 million of targeted support to attract investment and create jobs as part of the Government’s goal to grow the creative industries by £50 billion by 2030. 

It comes as Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer brings together more than 140 cultural and creative businesses across film, TV, fashion, music and video games at the WeCreate conference at Aviva Studios in Manchester, to celebrate the success of the creative industries across the North of England and discuss how government and the sectors can work together to maximise their potential even further.

Firms across Greater Manchester - such as Broaden Films and Scoop PR - have already benefited from the first round of the government’s Create Growth Programme. Today the Culture Secretary is doubling the areas covered by the programme, announcing six new areas that will receive a share of £10.9 million for targeted business support, bringing the total number of creative organisations expected to be supported by the programme to 1,800.

The expansion of the Create Growth Programme will see creative businesses across Nottinghamshire, Hull and East Yorkshire, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Devon and Hertfordshire supported to access private investment and scale-up advice - to turn today’s start-up founders into tomorrow’s CEOs.

The Culture Secretary is also calling on grassroots music venues, recording studios, promoters and festivals to apply for grants of up to £40,000 to develop new revenue streams, make repairs and improvements, and enhance the live music experience for millions of gig-goers across the UK.

Addressing creative industry leaders in Manchester, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is expected to say: 

"Today is about not only celebrating all the things that make our creative industries special, but looking ahead to the future and how we, together, can chart a course that keeps these crown jewels of our economy shining for years to come.

"We’re already making progress towards the ambitious goals set out in our sector vision, unveiling millions in new funding to drive growth in our grassroots and scale ups and banging the drum for creative careers."

From 2010 to 2019, the creative industries grew more than one and a half times faster than the wider economy and in 2021 they generated £108 billion in economic value. In 2021, they employed 2.3 million people - a 49% increase since 2011. The Government has identified the creative industries as one of five priority sectors to deliver future growth and the Creative Industries Sector Vision set out an ambition to grow these sectors by £50 billion by 2030. 

As part of the work to reach this ambition, the WeCreate conference will include a panel discussion on how business and government can work together to maximise investment in the creative industries, as well as a discussion about the adoption of emerging tech in order to drive growth and the challenges and opportunities which AI brings to this. 

The conference will be attended by key organisations in the creative industries from across the North of England, including Wakefield Production Park, the Royal Armouries Museum and the Manchester Film Festival, as well as national organisations such as Pinewood Studios, Channel 4 and the British Fashion Council.

The Culture Secretary is launching a new round of the Supporting Grassroots Music Fund, which has been expanded to ensure grants reach more parts of the grassroots industry, including rehearsal and recording studios, promoters, festivals and venues hosting electronic music. The broader eligibility criteria reflects the wide range of spaces and skills that are needed to help musicians perform and thrive. 

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

"This investment by the UK Government and Arts Council England reaffirms our commitment to supporting this hugely important part of the music industry. People value the opportunity to develop and express their creativity, and the grassroots music sector excels at allowing communities to design and develop creative and cultural activity where they live.

"We hope this new funding will continue to address the needs of the sector and empower it to carry on offering high-quality live music experiences for audiences across the country."

A pipeline of skills is key to industry growth, and the WeCreate conference comes at the beginning of this year’s Discover! Creative Careers Week, with digital resources and over 70 in-person and virtual events in more than 270 schools and colleges across the country to introduce the next generation of creatives to different sectors, job roles and career pathways. This builds on support from the Local Skills Improvement Fund - announced last week - to improve creative skills training, deliver new creative courses and invest in new facilities and equipment across West Yorkshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and London.

It will see Calderdale College in Halifax, West Yorkshire, receive £1.2 million to establish a state-of-the-art creative skills hub in Halifax, which will develop and deliver new digital courses covering the latest digital technologies being used across theatre, film, TV, music and video games. Meanwhile, North Hertfordshire College will receive £485,000 to develop courses that meet the skills needs of the film and production industries, and deliver industry-standard equipment for film and media projects.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP