GOSPORT MP Dame Caroline Dinenage spoke up for the arts during a debate on the Arts Council England funding decisions on Thursday, 19 January. Dinenage was appointed as the Minister for the Cultural Recovery Fund during the Covid-19 pandemic. She understands the importance of ensuring that funds are allocated fairly across the cultural sector because the primary focus is London.
Dinenage said, “Arts council funding has been focused on London for far too long, and we need to ensure culture is thriving in every pocket of England. But we don’t level up the rest of the country by levelling down London. We need to harness the potential of the great cultural power houses in London to spread their tentacles, sprinkle their magic across the country.”
Despite her words about London, Dinenage was more than happy with the recent decision of the Arts Council England. The department will invest £446 million annually to 990 organisations between 2023-26. The Hampshire Cultural Trust will benefit from the scheme as it’s expected to receive £500,000 per year. The impact on Gosport will be significant, including investment in the Gosport Museum and Art Gallery. It will include supporting sites such as Fort Brockhurst, Priddy’s Hard and Royal Clarence Yard. They are key heritage spaces, and the funding will extend to community festivals like Arts in the Parks.
Even with her statement about London, she did warn about withdrawing from London’s cultural scene altogether and the severe consequences it could have for the city. It comes after the announcement in November that the English National Opera (ENO) would be removed from the Arts Council England’s Investment Programme. The ENO was told it would only receive more funds if it were to relocate away from the capital. Quick relief soon came for the ENO on Tuesday, 17 January, when the Arts Council England said it would invest £11.46 million in the (ENO) for April 2023-March 2024.
The year ahead will be challenging for London and the arts and cultural sector. But for Dinenage and the town of Gosport, it’s a win. Dinenage summarising, “I see the impact of this first hand into my patch, Gosport.”
To watch Dinenage’s speech, follow the link to: https://fb.watch/i8QoHmNder/
PICTURED: Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage, speaking during the debate on the funding decisions of Arts Council England.