Cultural Spring continuing work in South Tyneside - despite borough missing out on funding after being deemed 'too cultured'

Arts initiative The Cultural Spring is to continue its work increasing the number of South Tynesiders engaging in arts and culture through its new charity arm, despite changes to its funding due to the borough being deemed ‘too cultured’ to benefit from certain cash pots.

The project has been working in South Tyneside and Sunderland since 2014 and delivers seasonal workshops, support for community-based arts projects and large-scale performances.

It is funded through Arts Council England’s (ACE) Creative People and Places (CPP) programme.

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Today it has been announced the project’s next three-year programme will be delivered solely in Sunderland, after an ACE survey of arts engagement in South Tyneside revealed the number of people taking part in arts activity had risen to a point where the borough was no longer eligible for CPP funding.

However, the borough was confirmed as a priority area earlier this year, meaning it will get additional support and investment from ACE.

And Cultural Spring Director Emma Horsman has pledged the project’s new charity will continue to work with venues, partners and stakeholders to increase arts participation in the borough.

She said: “For the past seven years half of our delivery has been in South Tyneside, and we’re pleased to see engagement rates in the borough have risen – hopefully we’ve played a part in that increase.

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"However, we remain passionate about helping to increase arts participation in South Tyneside yet further. To do so we’ll be working through our newly-established Cultural Spring Charity.

“South Tyneside will also hugely benefit from enhanced investment after being named as a Priority Place by ACE.”

In 2014, The Cultural Spring was given an initial £2million for its first three years and then successfully bid for £1million to deliver its second three-year programme in 2016.

A third phase, backed by £500,000 of CPP funding, started in April 2020, but only two years into that programme, CPP has decided to extend The Cultural Spring in Sunderland yet further with a £1million investment.

The new Sunderland programme will begin in April 2022.

Graeme Thompson, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Sunderland and Chair of The Cultural Spring steering board, said: “The Cultural Spring has made a real impact on the cultural landscape of Sunderland and South Tyneside, and we’re delighted our work will continue in Sunderland for a further three years.

“We’re also proud that our work in South Tyneside will continue through our charity arm.

“So many individuals and groups have benefited from the events and activities organised by the project team in our previous programmes. We’ve successfully engaged with communities but also played an important role in offering opportunities to local artists and performers.”

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Nationally, ACE is investing £38.3million in 39 CPP programmes as part of its CPP national portfolio development.