Region's cultural and creative industries get £15m boost - The Solihull Observer

Region's cultural and creative industries get £15m boost

Solihull Editorial 31st May, 2024   0

THE REGION’S creative and cultural sectors are set to get a cash boost.

The new Mayor of the West Midlands, Richard Parker, has pledged £15million of funds from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) over the next two years to support the ambition and capacity of the sectors – which were among the hardest hit by successive Covid-19 lockdowns.

The West Midlands Ownership Hub – a ground-breaking initiative to support the Mayor’s manifesto pledge to grow the number of co-operative and employee-owned businesses – has also been launched.

The hub will initially focus on cultural and creative sectors, offering freelancers, creatives, and businesses workshops and an ongoing support programme to move into these alternative business models that are proven to enhance productivity, prioritise the well-being of workers, and address the challenges of precarious work conditions.

Alongside the Ownership Hub, the WMCA’s £15 million investment will also provide grants that will unlock wider match funding to improve physical facilities such as rehearsal rooms, co-working offices and exhibition spaces, and support to help them innovate.

The Mayor has meanwhile pledged to continue existing work to protect and breathe new life into heritage buildings across the region.

A new ‘Activate’ programme will also launch later this summer, providing a series of early-stage creative skills training that aims to expand the pipeline of new talent and encourage craftspeople and technicians, such as electricians, carpenters, caterers and dressmakers, into the creative sector.

Mr Parker said: “I see the West Midlands as the beating heart of the national creative economy and as our region’s creatives increasingly stand tall on the global stage, they should be able to rely on the public sector to champion them.

“We have set up the West Midlands Owners hip Hub to promote co-operative and employee ownership.

“These business models will pave the way for a more sustainable future for workers and help address the challenges of precarious work conditions in these sectors, recognising the vital role those people play in shaping our identity and driving our economy forward.”

Skinder Hundal, chair of the West Midlands Cultural Leadership Board, said: “Imagining and collaborating is what artists do best: when they bring their ideas, enthusiasm, expertise and unique view on the world, new projects, works and exhibitions come to life.

“I’m excited to see how The West Midlands Ownership Hub will support our region’s creatives to work together to explore innovative ways in which they can take ownership of their creativity and materially benefit from it, working in solidarity as a West Midlands sector, consciously engaging contexts both locally and globally.”

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