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North unites on levelling up culture

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed The Northern Culture APPG’s levelling up inquiry, which has gathered a significant body of evidence highlighting the huge economic contribution Northern culture makes to the UK and what the North needs to unlock its full potential.

Northern MPs, regional mayors, local authority and cultural leaders came together to make the case for Northern culture, achieving pan-Northern and cross-party consensus on its findings and recommendations to rebuild, rebalance and recover. Its 10 point action plan makes it clear that Northern culture must be embedded in the Government’s levelling up White Paper.

The Case for Culture report sets out what the Government needs to do to truly level-up Northern culture including: maximising the North’s cultural ‘soft power’, investing in greater economic and cultural infrastructure and opening-up opportunities and access to training and education.

Lord Inglewood, Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and the NP11, which brings together all 11 Northern LEPS, joint-lead on place and culture said: “Cumbria and the North possesses a rich seam of talent and a strong and proud cultural heritage, which is critical to making great places to live, work, visit and invest. Here in Cumbria, we recognised this opportunity several years ago, when we developed the Creative and Cultural Sector Panel to bring together sectoral leaders and develop our strategy “The Natural Capital of Creativity and Culture” outlining how we would achieve Cumbria’s potential. There is now a real opportunity to level up the North and culture and nature must be central to that.”

Dr Clare Devaney, NP11’s Strategic Lead for Place & Culture in the North, who is based at Cumbria LEP, said: “We welcome the APPG report and its focus on culture as an economic driver for the North and the UK economy.

We are pleased to see strong alignment between the APPG’s findings and the strategic priorities emerging through the work of the NP11 Place and Culture Partnership. The partnership brings together the NP11, Arts Council England, Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Environment Agency in collaborative development of a strategy to ensure that the North’s creative, cultural and natural capital is fully maximised.

Collaboration is at the heart of the Place agenda and the draft strategy builds on a broad scope programme of sector and stakeholder engagement, including with colleagues at the Cumbria Arts and Culture Network.

The draft Place strategy will be launched as an interim report for further stakeholder engagement and consultation at the forthcoming Convention of the North event, on Tuesday 8 February 2022.”

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