Funding Calls

Culture and Heritage: Call for projects

Since the launch of our Towns and Local Centres (TLC) Framework in March 2019, GBSLEP has provided revenue funding to support the development of numerous projects aimed at laying the foundations for the places of the future where people want to visit, work, and live.

We are delighted to announce that our next revenue funding call for culture- and heritage-focussed projects is now live, with £250,000 in revenue funding available. All funds must be spent by successful applicants by 31 March 2022 and, although cash match funding is not mandatory, an in-kind match of some sort showing partner commitment will be essential.

We are interested in receiving applications to set up Cultural Action Zones, which can operate at various scales, from city centres to high streets and local centres, and can involve a range of actions such as:

• Reconfiguring the use of high street retail space, such as experimenting with ‘meanwhile use’
• Piloting new festivals, markets, and other activities
• Testing traffic re-routing and other activities which require consultation and planning
• Making better use of heritage and other unique features, such as canals
• Developing branding, tourism, communications, and VR/AR apps
• Installing street art and other attractions
• Improvements to the night-time economy

Through these kinds of activities, Cultural Action Zones can shape the identity of a place, sustain footfall and draw in visitors, and invigorate local centres.

As well as inviting proposals for Cultural Action Zones, we will also be inviting proposals specifically focused around Heritage, or blending heritage with other activities. Heritage assets can often become an anchor within a place; bringing together multiple commercial and non-commercial uses, enabling businesses and culture to flourish, providing opportunities around tourism and skills development.

The key ingredient we will be looking for in applications within this call is collaboration; with organisations working together, combining their ideas, revenue streams, assets and opportunities to create a sustainable impact. Proposals should also resonate with at least some of GBSLEP’s cultural investment principles:

Characteristic 1: Builds on regional distinctiveness. Successful projects will be able to articulate and demonstrate how they capture, reflect or create a strong sense of distinctive identity that contributes to a broader narrative about the qualities of a place.

Characteristic 2: Extends or creates new ‘place-leading’ assets. Successful projects will seek to learn from, and extend, best international practice. Project leaders will be able to self-determine the ‘place-leading’ nature of their proposal, whatever its scale or location.

Characteristic 3: Takes an innovative approach to cultural investment. Successful projects will clearly display an innovative business model, including an approach to sustainability that goes beyond that of merely extending or enlarging their existing business practice.

Characteristic 4: Contributes to a cluster / ecosystem-based model. Successful projects will contribute to an existing, or catalyse a new, geographic ‘clusters’ of cultural institutions, with a view to leveraging audiences, visitors, communities, supply chains, and future market growth.

In all applications, we will be encouraging experimentation and alternative approaches. We will also be looking to see that applications take account of the need to protect the environment and reduce carbon footprints across all activities.

Before you submit your application, we strongly advise that you review the following documents, as they will help you to understand the kinds of projects that GBSLEP is looking to support through this call:

If you are sure that this fund is right for your project, you can download the application form here and also the guidance note here.

For further information about the call, or for advice on completing the application form, please speak to our Creative and Cultural Policy Lead, David Furmage, via

The deadline for the submission of applications is noon on Monday 21 June 2021.

Applications will be assessed during week beginning 21 June, and further clarification sought if required. Projects will be notified of the outcome of the assessment by early July, with delivery expected to begin from August onwards. Projects must be completed by 31 March 2022, with evaluations provided to GBSLEP by 31 March 2023.