THE TEES Valley has been announced as a hotspot for new investment as part of a new Arts Council England plan. 

Arts Council England’s (ACE) three-year Delivery Plan has announced that the area will be one of 15 priority places in the North they want to develop, and have said its creativity and culture boost can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

Its plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy 'Let's Create'. 

ACE said the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which covers the five independent boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees, has all the elements to further develop a flourishing cultural infrastructure.

The Combined Authority’s ambition for culture has been demonstrated by its inclusion in their devolution deal with government and by their desire to work in partnership with the Arts Council.

The Northern Echo: Darlington town centreDarlington town centre

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The publication of the Delivery Plan follows the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies.

ACE praised the political leadership of the region for being committed to embedding arts and culture within its social and economic planning and said there is already a "substantial financial commitment to growth in culture". 

It added: "There is real opportunity to build on existing key cultural assets, such as mima, Tees Valley Museums, the Stockton International Riverside Festival, and the Festival of Thrift which is about to take place in Redcar.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tees Valley has received £5,096,910 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

"These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture."

The Northern Echo:

Jane Tarr, Director, North, Arts Council England, said: “I am thrilled to announce that Tees Valley is among our 15 priority places across the North.

“Across the Tees Valley we see organisations like Middlesbrough's mima, Tees Valley Museums and the soon to take place Festival of Thrift in Redcar, inspiring local communities to engage with arts and culture. The cultural sector and local authority leads in the Tees Valley truly understand the value of great art and culture and they support the growth of cultural activity in the region. I look forward to working with these passionate organisations and individuals to realise their cultural ambitions.”

The Northern Echo: Mayor Ben Houchen Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTMayor Ben Houchen Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This comes at a vital time as the country continues its economic recovery following the effects of the coronavirus. 

"Not only will this support help to promote and develop more high-quality experiences to give people things to look forward to after what has been a couple of incredibly difficult years, it will also directly boost the creative industries. 

"On top of this, brilliant businesses in our towns and high streets across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will benefit, as more people get out and about to check them out, in turn spending their cash in shops, restaurants and bars once again.”

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