Exeter Cultural Partnership

Engaging, empowering, energising culture in Exeter

Making a Greater Exeter case to the Great Place Scheme

You will probably have seen the news story already picked up about the plans to bid for the Great Place Scheme.  This is an initiative which is a major part of the Government proposals for culture first published in March.  

Launched by Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic England, the Scheme is offering up £1.5 million to each of 12 pilot areas to enhance arts and cultural activities. In addition, the three national cultural bodies (HLF, Historic England and the Arts Council) will provide advice and support to the successful ‘Great Places’. The scheme will run from 2017 to 2020.

Exeter City Council and Exeter Cultural Partnership believe that the strong and distinctive cultural offer in the city can act as a focal point for a ‘greater Exeter’ Great Place. Many organisations based in the city serve a much wider area, Exeter has one of the highest pro rata commuter populations in England and the City Council recognises the value of culture in improving the quality of peoples’ lives and the local economy.  Exeter is also one of only five ‘Areas of Archaeological Importance’ in the country as designated by Historic England, and the only one in the south west.  The Council is working with Exeter Cultural Partnership and others to submit an expression of interest by 6 October. The cultural bodies will then assess these and invite the strongest expressions of interest to submit fully worked-up plans by the New Year.

Competition for the Scheme is expected to be tough. To encourage support for the expression of interest, an Open Letter has been written and endorsed by almost forty organisations and prominent individuals including author Michael Morpurgo OBE, Ben Bradshaw MP, Andy Cooper (Editor of Devon Life), the National Trust and leaders of arts, heritage, tourism, business, education and cultural organisations.

You can read the open letter below. 

'Supporting Greater Exeter's expression of interest to the Great Pl...

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Comment by Simon Bates on September 5, 2016 at 7:51

This is an excellent list of supporters but is missing an environmental representative (though National Trust clearly have an interest there). Can I suggest that an approach be made to Harry Barton, Chief Executive of the Devon Wildlife Trust? The quality of our green spaces are high up the agenda for residents of Exeter and are, of course, a major part of our tourism and culture offer (think the estuary cycle trail, the river, our valley parks).

Comment by Martin Thomas on September 5, 2016 at 20:47

Thanks Simon, Much depends on the reception the Exeter City Council/ECP expression of interest (EOI) receives and whether we are invited to make a full application.  We can certainly consider DWT.  The point of the Open Letter was to encourage interest and support for the 'wider/greater Exeter' EOI based on the criteria of the three funding bodies.  A few organisations invited to support the Open Letter have not yet responded - a couple wanted to consider how they may best engage with this or discuss with their boards, so I'd stress this is only the beginning.  But a strong beginning... :-)

Comment by Simon Bates on September 6, 2016 at 8:12

Thanks Martin, fingers crossed. Enjoyed the season opening at Bike Shed yesterday and only sorry I didn't get around to saying hello, but had to rush out at 6.

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