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Government backs Bradford – UK City of Culture 2025 – with £10 million funding boost

  • Cash boost supports the Government’s ambition to grow the economy and create opportunities with almost 7,000 new jobs and growth of £389 million in the local economy
  • Approximately 1,000 performances by local artists and creatives expected to attract more than 15 million visitors in 2025
  • Announcement comes on ten-year anniversary of UK City of Culture programme

The investment will support the delivery of Bradford’s programme of cultural activity over the year – ranging from live performances in existing cultural venues to pop-up experiences in a bespoke touring venue, Beacon.

Approximately 1,000 performances will take place in 2025, developed alongside and in collaboration with local artists and creatives. They are expected to attract 15.5 million visitors and bring an additional visitor spend of £136.9 million into the local economy over the course of the year.

The increased cultural and economic activity is expected to deliver up to £389 million of growth for Bradford as UK City of Culture 2025.

The funding boost will also help Bradford with its ambition, set out in its bid to host the event, to create 6,845 new jobs and opportunities right across the city by 2030.

In addition, Arts Council England is allocating £5 million in National Lottery funding to support Bradford’s programme during its tenure as UK City of Culture.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund also confirms today it is awarding £4.95 million specifically to develop a programme of activities to bring the diverse heritage of the city to the fore during 2025’s celebrations.

Stuart Andrew, Culture Minister, said:

With its unique culture and young and vibrant population, Bradford will be a fantastic host for the UK City of Culture 2025.

We are investing £10 million in the city this year to help prepare for the event so we can make sure it stimulates new jobs and growth in the local economy through culture.

We want to open up access to the arts, create opportunities for young people, and inspire our next generation of writers, artists and performers.

Residents of Bradford will be able to participate in the various projects and develop their skills across several sectors. For example, Bradford 2025 recently launched a one-of-its-kind competition with the Royal Institute of British Architects to design a touring venue, Beacon, to play host to performances and live events across the district during the summer of 2025.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:

The team at Bradford 2025 are already building a life-changing, awe-inspiring programme of brilliant artistic and cultural activities across the district’s arts organisations, museums and libraries. But there’s so much more to come.

This investment will have a huge impact on the lives of the people who live, work and study in the city – as well as thousands of visitors over the coming years. I’m on the edge of my seat, eager to see and hear how Bradford’s journey of amazing creativity will unfold.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

I am delighted to announce that we are supporting Bradford with £4.95million National Lottery funding. It will shine a light on the city’s fascinating heritage when it takes its City of Culture crown in 2025.

Thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve enabled past City of Culture award holders to showcase the history and heritage of their cities.  We have seen first-hand the transformational effects that an exciting heritage programme can bring, creating a deeper sense of place, pride and identity.  We look forward to our funding opening up heritage for all those who live, work and visit Bradford, to celebrate and enjoy.

Dan Bates and Shanaz Gulzar, Executive Director and Creative Director at Bradford 2025, said:

There’s less than 18 months before we begin our year as the City of Culture 2025, and we welcome the funding announced today by the Minister. As momentum starts to build, funding support is essential for us in delivering against our ambitions and creating an unforgettable year that Bradford needs and deserves.

Over the coming months, thanks to the funding announced today, we’ll be able to progress key projects that will enable us to provide the opportunity for everyone in the district to engage in Bradford 2025 in some way – whether that is by attending an event, participating in a workshop, creating a performance or volunteering.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Metropolitan District Council said:

The funding announced today by DCMS, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England is welcome good news. It’s further evidence of the willingness to invest not just in a global Bradford and in the cultural and physical regeneration of our city, but in the young people who will help shape its future.

Now is our time, time for Bradford to shine and become a beacon for what’s great about Yorkshire, and about the North.  We will also be the largest, most ambitious and the first district wide City of Culture bid ever so we also remain optimistic that we will see more funding of this sort from Government in the near future to help us fully realise the opportunity that being the UK City of Culture in 2025 brings.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of UK City of Culture, with the first host being Derry-Londonderry in 2013, followed by Hull in 2017 and Coventry in 2021.

The title has a proven track record of opening up access to culture and creativity and delivering culture-led regeneration, with 81% of Derry-Londonderry residents attending a UK City of Culture event in 2013.

In Hull, nine in ten residents attended or took part in UK City of Culture related activity. Government funding helped facilitate wider inward investment from the private sector and other partners worth £676 million. Similarly, Coventry received £172.6 million in inward investment which facilitated wider regeneration activity of over £500 million.

Notes to editors:

The funding announced today is from:

  • £10 million government funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
  • £5 million of lottery funding from Arts Council England (ACE).
  • £4.95 million of lottery funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF).

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