|The Dukes Oliver Twist in Lancaster's Williamson Park|
The project will help establish the county’s cultural offer as one of the leading reasons for people to visit Lancashire over the next few months, a key ambition expressed in the county’s new Visitor Economy Strategy, launched last year, part of an overall strategy plan to boost the county's economy that is backed by European Union funding.
Aimed at enabling Lancashire’s art organisations to reach new audiences, it's hoped the new initiative will also strengthen Lancashire’s cultural reputation with arts practitioners and investors, acting as a catalyst for further developments and investment.
Marketing Lancashire, formerly Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, was established in April 2012. As the destination management organisation for Lancashire it works closely with VisitEngland and a wide range of public and private sector agencies. Their activities in marketing and communications, commercial membership and place marketing are all designed to grow the visitor economy and develop the destination as a great place to visit, work and invest.
2014 figures show that Lancashire attracted 63 million visitors, who contributed £3.68 billion to the local economy and helped support 56,074 jobs.
“Lancashire is such a diverse county with a rich and varied cultural offering that can sometimes get lost in the national arts landscape," says Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire. "However inspiring and unique the work that’s created here, Lancashire is not generally seen as a cultural destination.
“The activity that we can now start, boosted by this award, will pull together and develop a distinct cultural narrative for Lancashire.
“I’m truly delighted that Arts Council England is supporting this new initiative, the aim of which is to achieve greater collaboration between visitor economy businesses and Lancashire’s vibrant arts sector. It will contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for cultural tourism across the county, as well as influence future programming that will help raise visitor numbers to 70 million (per annum) by 2020.”
Grants for Arts is ACE’s lottery-funded grant programme for individuals, arts organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. Awards range from £1,000 to £100,000 and support a wide variety of arts-related activities and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.
Commenting on the award, Neil Harris, senior relationship manager at Arts Council England, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this project that will further promote the rich cultural offer in Lancashire to a wider audience.”
Marketing Lancashire worked with a county-wide steering group on the application which was submitted in September 2015 and, going forward, will manage the project.
• Marketing Lancashire is at www.marketinglancashire.com