Northumberland town to become ‘beacon for creativity’ with £1.5m investment

A five-year project funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority and Northumberland County Council has announced funding for artists and creative businesses to grow and create jobs in Berwick.

Create Berwick, part of the North of Tyne Culture and Creative Zone (CCZ) Programme, has announced its plans to make the town a ‘distinctive, must-see destination’ as North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll met with some of the creatives in the town.

The project brings cultural organisations, creatives, artists, businesses, and residents together to make Berwick and its surrounding wards in North Northumberland a ‘beacon for culture and creativity’.

The project starts with a Creative Action Fund which is offering up to £5,000 to artists, creative and businesses to run projects to develop skills, grow businesses, test new ideas and engage people in creative activity. The deadline to apply for up to £5,000 is Wednesday 31 January.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll visited Berwick Barracks which will host workshops and training and met with business owners along Bridge Street to hear how local artists and creatives are benefiting from the Culture and Creative Zone.

During the visit Mayor Driscoll commented: “We’ve invested £1.5m to transform Berwick’s economy, that’s in addition to the £170k for the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival. Writers, artists, actors, film makers, creatives of all kinds can directly grow their businesses with this long-term funding.

“Local artists get it; they know that culture is everything from guided relaxation sessions to watching a film about the speedway at Shielfield Park.

“We want year-round jobs in culture and tourism, organising festivals and staging events that don’t depend on summer weather. That means more secondary jobs, everything from shops and restaurants to joiners and accountants.”

Create Berwick is working with partners in the town and North Northumberland to fund and invest in projects which teach people new skills, let people enhance and hone their existing talents and skills, and which offer new pathways into employment in the cultural and creative sector.

The idea is to attract visitors, tourists, artists, and makers from all over the world to Berwick, create new opportunities for every person in Berwick to be creative and enjoy culture and heritage in the town and increase the amount of physical space there is for artists, cultural collectives and creative businesses, such as studios, exhibition spaces and more.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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