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Fenland project among nine to share in £7.9 million Arts Council England cash

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A project aimed at getting more people involved with the arts is to share in a multi-million pounds worth of lottery funding.

MarketPlace Fenland and Forest Heath is one of nine Creative People and Places arts projects in this region to receive a share of £7.9million of lottery funding over the next three years.

Arts Council England announced the investment today (Thursday 2) with the cash being used to to deliver more grassroots-led cultural experiences in areas across England where involvement in arts and culture is below the national average.

Since 2012, Creative People and Places projects have brought together community, grassroots, and cultural organisations as partners to take the lead in choosing, creating, and taking part in arts and cultural activities that their local communities want and need.

Babylon Arts based in Ely is responsible for delivering the MarketPlace project in Fenland and Forest Heath.
Babylon Arts based in Ely is responsible for delivering the MarketPlace project in Fenland and Forest Heath.

Up until 2021, there were over 7.4million people engaging with Creative People and Places projects, 83 per cent of which involved people that do not regularly engage with arts and culture. The far-reaching impact of the programme continues through enabling over 17,404 volunteers and over 1000 local partners to take part - including a haulage firm, a rugby club and several housing associations - all helping to put creativity at the heart of local communities.

This new round of funding means that every National Lottery ticket purchase contributes to more villages, towns, and cities up and down the country being able to thrive through a collaborative approach to culture - from Wigan to Walsall, from Rochdale to the New Forest, and from Boston to Basildon.

A total of 39 Creative People and Places projects, 11 of which are brand new, will be supported covering 56 local authority areas, taking total investment for the period between 2022 and 2025 to £38.3million, and total investment rising to £108million since inception of the programme in 2012 up to 2025.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "Everyone, no matter where they are from, should be able to experience arts and culture. The fantastic Creative People and Place projects help make culture more accessible and strengthen bonds in local communities. I'm delighted that this £38.3 million funding will make sure more people across the whole of England have access to brilliant cultural and creative activities on their doorsteps."

Hazel Edwards, area director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “Our Creative People and Places projects provide us with an important opportunity to empower local communities across the region, giving them the power to choose what arts and culture they want to experience and how.

"Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re able to invest in the future of these exciting projects – including two new ones for the East and South East. This doesn’t just place local people at the helm when making decisions, but also ensures that arts and culture – and all the benefits they bring – can sit at the heart of creating exciting new opportunities for these communities.”

Claire Somerville, chief executive, of Ely-based Babylon ARTS, said: “The CPP MarketPlace project has set out to help more people in Fenland and Forest Heath (West Suffolk) get involved with arts and culture where they live. This funding means we can continue to build on our collaborative approach to working with communities, increasing opportunities for people to shape the creative and cultural offer in their place.

“With this funding, CPP MarketPlace will focus on targeted groups, neighbourhoods, villages and towns in the two districts; sowing ideas; growing skills, confidence and ambition and showing just what’s possible when the creative spark of inspiration is ignited.”

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