Belfast Telegraph

Culture fund offers £10m in grants

Community groups in Derry have been urged to bid for a slice of £10 million in City of Culture funding.

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood said he wanted local people to benefit as much as possible from the windfall.

The government funding pot has been made available ahead of the city hosting the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013.

The money will go towards culture venues and services, retail areas and an indoor venue which will compete for prestigious events such as the Brit music awards and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

On a visit to Derry, Mr Attwood said: "I want communities to benefit as much as possible from the City Of Culture year.

"This is a one-off opportunity to make that happen. Already we have in train some exciting projects earmarked for the £10 million. Ilex will shortly commence a process to procure a demountable pavilion, which will accommodate 8,000 people. This would be a plum venue for competing for the likes of the Brit Awards and Sports Personality of the Year.

"Up to £1 million of funding will also be provided to enhance a number of retail areas on both the Cityside and Waterside."

The City Centre Initiative, working in partnership with traders and other stakeholders, is developing plans to improve a number of retail streets to attract more visitors and shoppers, especially in the evening.

Derry mayor Colum Eastwood said on Tuesday: "Today's announcement pledges significant support to the city through recognising the important role the creative economy has in driving economic development, investment and regeneration."

Martin Bradley, chairman of Culture Company 2013, said: "The City of Culture capital fund provides immediate opportunities for a range of projects to be advanced for 2013. This is a great boost and an indication of the potential for business and community growth. It is a positive statement of support for the city."

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