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A thriving cultural landscape helps to create places that attract and retain people, businesses, and business leaders. The creativity, innovation, and product development businesses in the cultural and creative industries (CCI) are also an important contributor to the Tees Valley’s future competitiveness, attractiveness, influence, and economic growth:  

“The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story – a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-ethnic state with the world’s best broadcaster; a vibrantly creative arts sector… [and] entrepreneurs developing the products and services which bring joy and jobs to so many” – ‘Levelling Up the United Kingdom’ White Paper, Feb 2022 

The cultural and creative industries, therefore, have a vital role to play in the economic development and future prosperity of the Tees Valley. 

The Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) identifies ‘Digital and Creative’ and ‘Culture and Leisure’ as two of seven key growth sectors which are critical to “boosting competitiveness and diversification, improving economic resilience and providing the range of jobs needed to ensure that growth is both widespread and inclusive”. To support the burgeoning culture, creative and visitor industries, Tees Valley Combined Authority is investing in a £20.5m Growth Programme for the Creative and Visitor Economies.  

Introduction to the Growth Programme 

Since 2017, the Combined Authority has invested in support for the sector and locally developed festivals, as well as attracting high profile events, such as BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the Great North CityGames to the region. This investment, contributed to growth of the visitor economy, attracting 20.24 million people in 2019/20 with visitor expenditure reaching £1.018 billion, which was a 2% and 10% increase respectively compared to 2017. This increased activity also created new opportunities for local residents to explore and enjoy the region, benefitting from the skill of cultural practitioners as they connected with local stories, celebrated local talent, and developed their own skills and creativity. 

Now, the Combined Authority’s ‘Growth Programme for the Creative & Visitor Economies’ will invest £20.5million programme through interventions targeted to enhance the region’s cultural, creative and hospitality sectors, and its destination marketing operations. It will stimulate and support the sustainable development of the region’s creative sector and help boost the Tees Valley’s creative and cultural offering, supporting long-term economic and social prosperity.    

A cornerstone of our approach is our ongoing work to enhance our screen industries (television and film) offer, building on a 2021 MOU with the BBC and other authorities across the wider North East. The North East Screen Industries Partnership is taking a strategic and coordinated approach to catalysing Screen Industries growth across the wider region, levelling-up on-screen representation and creating a dynamic, nurturing, talent-filled and competitive environment for broadcasters and independent productions looking to work in the North East. 

In summary, the Growth Programme for the Creative & Visitor Economies will:   

  • Create the conditions for cultural industry cluster growth – enabling a mature and sustainable cultural offering, resulting in wider reach, relevance and impact.   
  • Help improve perceptions of Tees Valley as a vibrant and authentic destination to live, study, work and visit.   
  • Provide a strategic and coordinated approach to destination development, management and marketing to attract more visitors from further afield while giving local communities a higher quality creative and cultural proposition.   
  • Use the inherent creativity of the sector as a catalyst for innovation in other target clusters within the region.   
  • Increase diversity of the workforce to ensure that creative works and opportunities are more relevant and accessible to wider audiences and consumers across Tees Valley.    
  • Ensure that the Tees Valley cultural and destination offer is exemplary in its accessibility and inclusivity and that the creative & visitor economies  grow through environmentally conscious development and investment which contributes to the region’s Net Zero objectives.  

The approach we are taking is evidence-led. Read the Executive Summary of our Baseline Research here.  

The programme will be delivered across 5 pillars. Explore the pillars below. 

Covid-19 Recovery Programme

In June 2020, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen announced the establishment of a new, independent and sector-led Task Force to advise on the development and delivery of a £1million Recovery Programme for the Visitor Economy and Cultural Industries sectors. Tees Valley LEP Board Member Annabel Turpin (Chief Executive of ARC, Stockton) was invited by the Mayor to Chair the group which met for the first time on the 31st July. The Task Force brings together local leaders who collectively represent the breadth and diversity of the Tees Valley’s visitor, hospitality and culture sectors and will ensure that the 12-month programme is rooted in the experiences of sector businesses and responsive to the changing climate.

Find out more here.

Sustainable Sector Growth

Accelerating the development of a Cultural & Creative Industries Cluster in Tees Valley through targeted interventions which create the conditions for sustainable sector growth.

View the Sustainable Sector Growth investment framework here.

A number of projects are already in delivery – follow the links below to find out more.

Festivals and Events

Building a distinctive and nationally recognised year-round ecology of festivals and events which draw people into the region, animate town centres and shared spaces, drive engagement and pride amongst communities and support the growth of the visitor economy. 

View the Festivals & Events investment framework here.

A number of projects are already in delivery – follow the links below to find out more:

Destination Product Development

Strengthening Tees Valley’s proposition for visitors and resident communities through targeted investment in products which reflect the objectives and priorities of the Destination Management Plan.

View the Destination Management Plan here.

Profile Raising

Transforming perceptions, attracting visitors and celebrating regional activity and businesses through a dynamic approach to place marketing. A core element of this will be the continued growth of the Enjoy Tees Valley destination brand, inline with the objectives and priorities of the Destination Management Plan.

View the Destination Management Plan here.

To find out more about Enjoy Tees Valley, click here.