We are very excited to announce today we have been successful with our Arts Council England, Place Partnership application and we are to receive £650,000 over the next three years.

This significant increase of investment into Portsmouth Creates has been made possible through the invaluable contribution of £450,000 from our Founding Partners: Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and Victorious Festival. These partnerships will continue to play a pivotal role moving forward- maximising not only the funding, but also their expertise and strategic alignment.

With this funding we can move forward with an ambitious programme aimed at driving growth and developing talent and inclusion for creatives and communities through collaboration, building capacity and creative pathways. Opportunities will be created for young people via mentoring and apprentice programmes aiming to develop cultural leaders of the future.

The successful bid aims to work with individuals and communities to build local capacity and highlight pathways, in turn attracting major new investment in the city.

An ambitious programme aims to drive growth, develop talent and improve inclusivity across the sector. Plans include a Business Support Programme, Creative Directory, and Sector Mapping exercise to identify skill gaps and opportunities across the city.

Opportunities for young people include the development of a Youth Board Mentoring Scheme and Apprentice Programme, supporting the next generation of cultural leaders.

From 2024, Portsmouth will host high-profile events in the creative calendar such as the We Connect Annual Conference and We Shine 2024 and 2026. In 2025, a programme of citywide celebrations will spotlight Portsmouth’s iconic role within the world of literature.

Place Partnership delivery partners include Portsmouth City Council, University of Portsmouth, Victorious Festival, Shaping Portsmouth, Solent LEP, the Cultural Collective, and a host of Community Gateway Organisations facilitating a place-based solution to supporting the wider growth of Portsmouth’s creative economy.

Portsmouth Creates CEO Gemma Nichols said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Arts Council England has supported our vision for developing the creative and cultural sectors across our city. As a Priority Place for Arts Council England, now is our time to ensure that the creatives, cultural organisations, and communities are given the skills and the confidence and opportunity to reach their full potential and beyond. Portsmouth is a city full of creativity, through our programme our aim is to unlock much more of this. Through this Place Partnership Funding we will be utilising placed-based working as a catalyst to create the step change needed in the city, working with multiple partners to transform Portsmouth’s cultural landscape.”

Darren Henley, Arts Council England, Chief Executive, said: ‘We are thrilled to strengthen our support for Portsmouth as a priority place, fulfilling our ten-year strategy Let’s Create. We believe England should be a place where the creativity in each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish. Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, we can make this significant commitment to the city’s economy and talent pipeline, so that Portsmouth enjoys a rich cultural fabric for generations to come.’

South West Area Director, Phil Gibby, said: “We are delighted to announce a major new investment in Portsmouth today, thanks to the National Lottery. This funding, through Arts Council England’s Place Partnership Fund, reflects our confidence in the city’s ambitions to grow its cultural and creative sectors. The ambition outlined in this application shows place-based working at its best; with Portsmouth Creates bringing a range of partners together to create a step-change in the city. It will make a transformative difference to Portsmouth’s outstanding creative talent and we very much look forward to the journey ahead.”

Councillor Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “We are thrilled that Portsmouth Creates has secured this funding from Arts Council England to help the city focus on the growth and evolution of our creative economy in Portsmouth. As the Cabinet member responsible for culture and economic development I am committed to ensuring that our sector thrives and am proud to support this collaborative leadership from Portsmouth Creates.”


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CAPTION: Seen in front of street art by Gary Stranger as part of Look Up Portsmouth  (left to right) James Ralls, Victorious Festival; Tim Rusby, Chair, Portsmouth Creates; Gemma Nicols, CEO Portsmouth Creates; Phil Gibby, Arts Council England; Steve Pitts, leader of Portsmouth City Council and Sarah Duckering, University of Portsmouth. Image credit Joe Watson