Arts scheme helps raise £56m for Leeds economy, council claims

Cultural organisations in Leeds have generated more than £56m for the local economy in just one year, Leeds City Council has claimed.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 6:00 am

Studies looking at the impact of a new Leeds-based grants scheme found that the 41 organisations which received funding in 2018-19 generated £56,799,450 of income for Leeds.

The [email protected] project, has given financial support to create 2,331 events and activities in venues and communities across the city, which was watched by a total audience of 1.4 million.

Recipients have included the Leeds Big Bookend, South Asian Arts UK, DAZL Dance and The Leeds Library, as well as larger organisations such as Northern Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Dance and Opera North.

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Northern Ballet was one of the beneficiaries.

Skippo Arts, based in Holbeck, were also among the grant recipients. Established in 1988 they have been developing creative projects for more than 30 years.

Skippo’s director Arthur Stafford said: “We are a small arts organisation – South Leeds and [email protected] is our sole revenue funder.

“The main benefit to us is the imprimatur arising from the grant and being an element of a diverse funding portfolio enables us forge creative links with bodies such as Leeds Libraries and Leeds Museums and Galleries.

“For each £1 we receive from [email protected] we generate a further £34. In 2018/19, we also welcomed 284,665 people to our workshop, exhibitions and events.”

The scheme, backed by Leeds City Council, gives small and medium-sized cultural organisations the chance to apply for annual grants of up to £4,000, while larger organisations have the opportunity to apply for up to £50,000.

The council claims the scheme is a main part of Leeds Culture Strategy, which aims to help the city’s culture sector to grow and put culture at the heart of all major policy decisions up to 2030.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds has a quite remarkable network of cultural groups and organisations and a seemingly boundless capacity for creativity and invention.

“To make those ideas a reality, these organisations need the continued support and belief of those of us who want ensure that culture remains part of the heartbeat of Leeds and is at the centre everything we do both now and in the future.

“The events and activities this gives them the freedom to create in turns supports inclusive economic growth across our city, has a positive impact on the health and well-being of our residents and makes Leeds a better, richer and more diverse place to live, work and visit.”