County Durham wins extra £1.25m for regeneration funding bid

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A joint bid between Durham County Council, the Culture Durham Partnership and Durham University has added £1.25m to the “Into The Light” programme, a £7.2m three-year programme of events and activities taking place across the county. 

The bid was awarded through Arts Council England’s “Place Partnership” scheme, which distributes profits from the National Lottery. The scheme looks for projects which “invest in cultural activities, arts organisations, museums and libraries to help improve lives, regenerate neighbourhoods, support local economies, attract visitors and bring people together”.  

In County Durham, the expanded three-year culture and events programme will include a “spotlight” year in 2025, which will, among other plans, provide extra money for the Stockton & Darlington Railway. Additionally, the bid promises a major new programme of ‘Finding the Light’ events, exhibits and experiences exploring art, science and space. 

“The expanded three-year culture and events programme will include a “spotlight” year in 2025, which will provide extra money for the Stockton & Darlington Railway”

The Place Labs concept, which has already been piloted in Peterlee, Weardale and Durham City as part of the separate UK City of Culture bid, will be rolled out countywide where residents can develop their own creative projects and share ideas. 

Speaking about the programme, Professor Janet Stewart, the University’s Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities), said: “This is a fabulous success for County Durham and an exciting opportunity to put culture at the heart of wider regeneration and growth for the county.   

“Durham University is committed to working in partnership to support this ambitious and exciting programme.   

“Through our degree courses, museums, collections, visitor attractions and cultural activities, we recognise the important role we play in the cultural landscape of the county.   

“This programme will provide a great opportunity to share our research in new and creative ways, to bring arts, science and cultural engagement together.”  

Officials hope that this will bolster County Durham’s bid to become “The Culture County” after becoming the first county ever to be shortlisted for UK City of Culture status. 

Image: Thomas Tomlinson

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