Councils secure arts funding of £946,000

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Residents of Newmarket and Mildenhall are being asked for their views on how a grant of more than £450,000 could be spent on arts events across the district.

Arts Council England has announced that, following a joint bid from Forest Heath and Fenland district councils, £946,000 has been awarded to develop ambitious high quality community arts programmes in the two districts.

Each of Forest Heath’s market towns -Newmarket Mildenhall and Brandon – will receive substantial investment to be spent over a three-year period from 2015.

The grant has been achieved with match funding of £30,000 from Forest Heath towards arts activity in the towns.

Arts panels will be set up in each of the towns to decide how the money should be spent. Suggestions over the type of arts and culture events residents would like to see, were made during a consultation earlier this year when a resident suggested a rap event in Newmarket which would see the historic clock tower wrapped in a colourful decoration.

At a meeting on Monday, members of Newmarket Town Council welcomed the news of the grant and appealed to residents to come forward with ideas on how the money should be spent.

Cllr Bill Sadler, chairman of the council’s leisure services committee, said residents could contact him on 01638 666117 or the town clerk on 01638 667227.

Cllr Warwick Hirst, Forest Heath Council’s cabinet member for health, leisure and culture, said: “This is fantastic news not just for our towns of Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon, but for all the residents living in the villages around them.

“Through a relatively low contribution of our own, we have been able to secure this funding which will allow us to put on some stunning high quality arts events over the next three years.

“But we want this to be about our communities – it is about how they wish to be entertained, activities that they want to take part in, and performances they would like to see.”

Hedley Swain, area director south east, Arts Council England, said: “Creative people and places is designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision. While increasing participation from those in the local area, these projects will have a real impact in attracting new people to the arts. We are looking forward to working with the successful applicants and are excited to see their ambition realised.”