Slough set to receive cultural investment from Arts Council

Shay Bottomley

Slough is set to be a ‘priority place’ for arts funding as part of Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan for 2021-2024.

Under the plan, which aims to highlight areas where there are opportunities for ‘investment, collaboration and progress’, Slough will receive a small part of the Government’s £1.96billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The town is one of 54 priority places across the country which have been chosen as areas for cultural investment to provide residents with opportunities to enjoy ‘excellent’ cultural experiences within their community.

Slough has been chosen as a priority place due its ‘cultural and creative’ potential. The town has a has a higher population of under 18s and young people than the national average, and is home to a number of diverse communities and cultures.

Arts Council England said that both factors present ‘vast opportunities’ for the town, which have begun to be explored through growing cultural infrastructure of grassroots and community organisations.

Slough has already received £1.625million as part of the Arts Council’s national Creative People and Places programme funded by the National Lottery, with a further £279,313 investment into the town since the beginning of the pandemic through the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Each of the 54 priority 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 and are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

Hazel Edwards, South East area director for Arts Council England, said: “Our priority places approach provides a vital recognition that there are places across the country with huge ambition to embrace everything that culture can offer, but need more than just funding to make that happen.

“Through working strategically with local partners, we can bring them together and support them as they develop the local cultural infrastructure, which will in turn create vital opportunities for both artists and local communities.

“This work takes time and by establishing Slough as a priority place, we’re committing our time and expertise to work hand-in-hand with them as they develop their cultural offering and identity.”

Councillor Sabia Akram, lead member for leisure, culture and communities, said she was ‘delighted’ by the news.

“I’ve seen the work the Arts Council have done in showcasing and celebrating the vibrancy and diversity of towns and cities across the UK,” she added.

“I’m really very excited to see what creative arts and culture activities we can bring to Slough for the benefit of all our residents. I feel honoured to be chosen and thank the Arts Council for supporting us.”

Councillor Christine Hulme, lead member for children’s services, lifelong learning and skills, said: “This investment into Slough’s cultural scene is a massive boost to us. We are an ambitious town and are all about being inclusive and welcoming to all.

“The funding to contribute to an arts programme over the next three years will bring further opportunities for communities to come together.”

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