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Another Boost for Calderdale's Cultural Offer

Posted On: 19 Jan 2017

A consortium of cultural organisations from across Calderdale have been successful in their bid for Cultural Destinations Funding - an initiative developed by the Arts Council England in partnership with VisitEngland, the national tourist board.

Led by Halifax Culture Hub, the consortium is one of 16 applicants who will each receive a portion of a £3.3million fund designed to support local cultural offers and encourage tourism.

The £150,000 investment aims to increase economic value by positioning culture as part of the visitor offer, helping to drive growth of the tourist economy and allowing more people to experience arts and culture. 

Following on from a three-year funding period, it’s recognised that the first phase helped deliver a booming tourism trade worth £298million annually to Calderdale’s economy, supporting over 4,300 FTE local jobs.

Nestled between the metropolitan hubs of Leeds and Manchester, Calderdale is home to some of Yorkshire’s most rugged and romantic landscape, and the area also lays claim to being one of the most eccentric and creative corners of England’s largest county.

Home to the weird and wonderful, the peculiar and picturesque, the soulful and historically pioneering, Calderdale is a jewel in Yorkshire’s cultural crown waiting to be explored.

2017 is set to soar with several re-openings taking place including The Piece Hall, the UK’s only surviving example of the magnificent Georgian cloth halls soon to reopen as a visitor destination; Square Chapel Centre for the Art’s state-of-the-art new performance venue, an extension to the existing refurbished theatre space; a new Central Library and Archive and the anticipated reopening of Calderdale Industrial Museum.

Festivals as varied as the Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Arts Festivals, to Sowerby Bridge’s Winter Light, Halifax Comedy and Brighouse’s 1940s offerings add further to the cultural menu. Whilst Eureka! The National Children’s Museum (celebrating its 25th anniversary this year), the Victoria Theatre, Todmorden Town Hall, Bankfield Museum, Shibden Hall, Halifax Minster and a myriad of others add to the offer. There are also creative companies including IOU, Handmade Parade, Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band and Northern Broadsides.

David McQuillian, Director or Halifax Culture Hub and Square Chapel Centre for the Arts said:

"Locally we’ve known for a long time that Calderdale is blessed with some of the most inspiring and unique cultural spaces in the country and thanks to the support of the Arts Council’s first Cultural Destinations grant, we’ve been able to let everyone else know and make it easier and more attractive for people to visit.  We’re absolutely thrilled to receive an award in the second round from Arts Council and, with major developments at The Piece Hall and Square Chapel coming to fruition, it couldn’t come at a better time. Our mills, minsters, museums, chapels and cloth halls are becoming vibrant spaces of creativity and innovation that we want everyone to see; this grant and the work of Halifax Culture Hub help make that a possibility.”

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

"The success of Hull’s inspiring UK City of Culture launch is a reminder of the transformative power that arts and culture can have in any one place. Our work with VisitEngland and this new investment means that more places across the country will gain from the benefits delivered by local growth in both the economy and arts and culture.

“Partnership working is key in sustaining projects such as these, in building future audiences – both local and international - and in creating the right conditions for projects to thrive. I'm looking forward to seeing the successful organisations use their Cultural Destination funding to bring their projects to life over the coming months.” 

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, said:

“Culture is one of the core drivers for inbound tourism and we are delighted that this continuing commitment encourages more people to experience our arts and creativity and closer partnership working to deliver economic growth across England’s regions.” 

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Halifax Culture Hub aims to be a one stop shop for the best in art, culture and heritage in Halifax and the wider Calderdale region. It is a joint initiative from the area’s leading cultural organisations, and exists to promote the unique and the wonderful that happens in our little corner of Yorkshire. Founding Halifax Culture Hub members are Square Chapel Centre for the Arts & The Piece Hall Trust.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, their mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism to support growth aspirations.www.visitengland.com

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council England plans to invest £1.1billion of public money from government and an estimated £700million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Supported by
The Piece Hall heritage regeneration project is also supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
The Piece Hall is independently managed by The Piece Hall Trust, a registered charity, number 1156948. Registered in England and Wales, number 08906735.
Designed and developed by COAL/FACE © Copyright The Piece Hall Trust 2017