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The Cultural Development Fund was launched in 2018 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to boost local growth and productivity, and regenerate communities through capital investment in place-based cultural and creative initiatives.

Building on this pilot round, the second round of the fund has been launched and will include the promotion of economic and social recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The programme will be administered through Arts Council England (ACE).

The second round will support places to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Unlock local economic growth and productivity
  • Become more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest
  • Strengthen local leadership, partnerships and capability.

All applications must respond to the first outcome (unlock economic growth and productivity) and at least one other. The strongest applications will provide robust responses to all three outcomes.

The Fund is open to places in England (excluding London). It is expected that applications will be from a partnership for the area, led by a local authority, Local Enterprise Partnership, or other appropriate body that would lead a consortium of partners from both the public and private sector, and the voluntary sector where appropriate.

It is expected that at least one partner would be from the cultural, heritage or commercial creative industries, depending on who is most appropriate to meet the aims and objectives of the proposed activity.

There is a budget of £18.5 million for 2021/22 which includes £15.5 million for capital activity and £3 million for resource (project) activity. This will fund projects taking place between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2025.

Grants of a minimum of £2 million and a maximum of £5 million are available. Applicants can apply for capital (asset) activity with a limited proportion of resource activity (project activity).

Applicants can apply for a maximum of £700,000 for supporting resource activity within their total budget.

The Expression of Interest form will open on Arts Council England’s online grant management system, Grantium on Thursday 27 May 2021 (12pm midday). The deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest is Friday 23 July 2021 (12pm midday).

Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application.

ACE are expecting high demand for this fund. Consider carefully how well the project meets the aims of the fund before submitting an Expression of Interest.

APPLY HERE