Transferring arts funding from London to the regions can be life-changing | Letter

Graham Young of Northern Heartlands says that new funding for his organisation will help many in ex-mining and remote rural communities

I beg to differ with the view of outgoing artistic director at English National Ballet, who has criticised the transfer of arts funding from London to other parts of the country (Tamara Rojo wades into bitter row over London arts funding, 24 November).

As one of the founders of Northern Heartlands, which was named as a national portfolio organisation in the recent Arts Council England funding round, I have a different perspective. Our organisation works with creatives in severely challenged, ex-mining and remote rural communities. We see the changed lives and the confidence which is generated by our interventions – activities that would have been likely to cease if we hadn’t got this funding.

We often looked askance at the high percentage of Arts Council England funding which went to London. But of course it shouldn’t be about percentages – the amounts redirected are minuscule when compared to other interventions by government. A higher spend on the arts (particularly when it is going to otherwise deprived communities) can save many times that amount from the budgets of the NHS and other public institutions.
Graham Young
Chair, Northern Heartlands

The GuardianTramp

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