Having been postponed due to the pandemic’s arrival in Britain last year, the programme initially announced in 2019 has been reinvented with new priorities to ensure Culture Recovery Fund impetus is not lost.

With this in mind, the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is once again calling on Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England to administer a fiscal package to the nation’s cultural and heritage organisations.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says the Cultural Investment Fund shows that it is “now time to look to the future” after the Culture Recovery Fund has helped many arts and heritage organisations “survive the immediate effects of the pandemic”.

Art Fund – Going Places – Oct 2023
Oliver Dowden
Oliver Dowden MP © Parliament (CC-BY 3.0)

The overarching £42 million is divided into a trio of initiatives: Cultural Development Fund (CDF), Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND), and Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF).

The former, which has already awarded £3,965,000 to Coventry City of Culture and over £12 million to the regeneration of the National Railway Museum, will this financial year utilise an £18.5 million budget to support places outside London to invest in creative, cultural and heritage initiatives – making them more attractive spots to live and visit.

This is the second round of CDF funding, following a pilot originally launched as part of the Creative Industries Sector deal in 2018. Five projects, located in Grimsby, Plymouth, the Thames Estuary, Wakefield and Worcester, benefited from support during this test phase.

Funding awarded via MEND is available to non-national Accredited museums and has a budget of £18.8 million for this financial year. Grants from this strand of the investment programme will support museums to carry out vital infrastructure and maintenance works, including schemes to improve accessibility and environmental sustainability.

LIF will this financial year have a budget of £5 million to help libraries upgrade their facilities to better serve local communities, with many needs having shifted during the pandemic.

“Investment in culture helps improve lives, regenerate neighbourhoods, support local economies, attract visitors and bring people together. This investment of £42 million from the DCMS will support a range of capital projects across England to support recovery, growth and the unlocking of creative potential as we emerge from the pandemic,” says Laura Dyer, deputy chief executive, places & engagement, Arts Council England.

More information and guidance on all three strands of the Cultural Investment Fund is available below:

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