North of Tyne Combined Authority and Creative England launch £2.625 million investment programme to stimulate culture and creativity in the North of Tyne region

£2.625m fund includes £500k for grants, £1.5m for loans and £625k for equity finance, plus expert business advice, available to creative entrepreneurs seeking to grow or diversify.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority and Creative England have today launched the Culture and Creative Investment Programme, a two-year partnership to invest £2.625 million in the North of Tyne’s creative and cultural industries. Open to SMEs and freelancers in the region, the Combined Authority’s investment fund will enable a more resilient and sustainable future for the creative sector in a post-Covid economy.

The bespoke programme is the first of its kind and will offer a combined package of financial and business support, including £500,000 of grants, £1.5 million of loans and £625,000 of equity investment. Wraparound business support will be delivered in partnership with Creative Fuse, offering a range of specialist workshops and mentoring sessions. Available to finance recipients and other creative practitioners, the support programme seeks to enhance business skills, aid the development of new products and services, and enable business growth. The programme will also facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between participants, as well as providing access to Creative England’s wider network of national and international market stakeholders.

Applications are encouraged from ambitious organisations and practitioners looking to establish innovate products, services and business models that recognise the new trading environment for cultural and creative businesses. The programme will position the cultural and creative industries as a key post-Covid growth sector for the North of Tyne and builds on the broader work of the Combined Authority to support a new economic future for the region.

Creative England has established a local delivery team to manage the programme on behalf of the Combined Authority and will draw from the expertise and experience of local cultural and creative leaders and organisations throughout the programme. The programme will be delivered in partnership with key regional cultural and creative organisations such Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, Tyne and Wear Community Partnership and the North East Culture Partnership. This regional leadership will provide critical insight and intelligence to support the national investment expertise of Creative England in delivering a first-class service in the region that will help realise the ambitions of the sector.

North of Tyne Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative and Rural and Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Glen Sanderson said: “After this incredibly challenging period for residents and businesses in the North of Tyne it is fantastic to see this investment in a crucial sector of our economy. This innovative partnership with Creative England will see significant support brought forward and will set the cultural and creative industries on a firm footing to grow out of the current crisis. I encourage all within the sector, particularly smaller businesses and organisations as well as freelancers to apply.”

CEO and Founder of Creative England, Caroline Norbury MBE said: “Prior to the pandemic the creative industries in the North East contributed over £1 billion to the economy and will be key to driving the region’s economic growth and productivity as it looks to rebuild The North of Tyne’s cultural sector will be a core part of this, and can also reengage communities with their local places and enhance their quality of life. We are very pleased to launch the Culture and Creative Investment Programme and look forward to working alongside North of Tyne Combined Authority to grow creativity throughout the region.”

For more information on the Culture and Creative Investment Programme visit the Creative England website.