Berwick Culture and Creative Zone

Culture and Creative Zone earmarked for Berwick

A Culture and Creative zone (CCZ) is to be set up in Berwick to help support the growth of the cultural sector in Northumberland.  
Taking inspiration from other UK and international cities, the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has launched the CCZ initiative as part of its Culture and Creative Investment Programme. 
Each local authority in the North of Tyne area will develop and co-produce a designated zone which seeks to deliver services to support the growth of the cultural and creative industries in the North of Tyne.  
The zones will be developed to reflect the challenges and opportunities of their locality – with local authorities and the sector working together to co-produce action plans for 5-year pilot projects. 
Each zone is eligible for up to £500,000 in the first year with action plans setting out the evidence base and rationale for additional investment. These plans will be reviewed together with the NTCA in early 2022. 
In Northumberland, Berwick has been identified as the pilot area for the scheme due to the significant number of cultural and creative assets and organisations in the area. The zone will support the town’s recovery following Covid19 and drive sustainable growth based on its strengths in the cultural and creative sectors. 
The creation of the CCZ in Berwick was approved at the county council’s cabinet meeting and the development phase will now begin. This will identify the right activity to support recovery and growth of the sector, which could include workspace for creative businesses or freelancers, business and skills support and financial incentives.    
The development will work closely with the community and ensure the zone is complementing and supporting the recovery of Berwick. 
Leader of the council, Cllr Glen Sanderson said: “Working closely with the NTCA the zone will aim to create an environment in which the recovery, sustainability and future growth of the cultural sector can be supported, by building confidence and resilience in the short-term following the pandemic, whilst looking ahead to the longer-term needs of the sector. 
The CCZ will enable us to reimagine a future for places such as Berwick, creating more space to produce, showcase and celebrate the world-class cultural offer of our county. This will create jobs, encourage more visitors to the area, attract more companies to relocate as well as further investment in our communities”.
Cllr Jeff Watson, cabinet member for culture at the county said: “Berwick has a long heritage of offering creative space for cultural organisations and partnerships. The development of a CCZ in the area will only help to further enhance the town’s and the county’s reputation for the creation of innovation and progress in the cultural sector".
Cllr Catherine Seymour, county councillor for Berwick North, said: "It is more good news that our historic town has been chosen for this action plan pilot.   The funding that we have qualified for from NTCA will enhance the growth of our Culture and Creative assets and support them looking ahead to the future. It is exciting that it will provide more jobs and boost our economy and communities".
Cllr Isabel Hunter, county councillor for Berwick West with Ord, said: “On behalf of residents from Berwick and the surrounding area I welcome the investment into our local community as well promoting our cultural offer nationally. This will benefit local businesses and the economy".
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