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£4.3m of new government funding to develop the creative economy in North Kent           

18th January 2019

Rob Bennett, chairman of the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership, today welcomed the investment of £4.3m of government funding to the Thames Estuary in Kent and Essex. The money – awarded from DCMS’s £20m Cultural Development Fund – is to help the growth of the cultural and creative industries, a key part of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor (TEPC).

Chatham Historic Dockyard, HMS GannetTEPC – a partnership between Kent, Essex and London – aims to make the Thames Estuary the world’s largest creative corridor and a global leader for the creative sector. The creative industries are worth over £100bn to the UK economy, employing 3m people: in the Estuary they employ 46,000 people and the sector has had strong growth of late – with successful sites such as Chatham’s Historic Dockyard and Maidstone Studios. This work aims to build on this success and could more than double those employment figures to 96,000 jobs, delivering an extra £3.1bn annually to the economy. The Cultural Development Fund work will focus on developing a new world-class festival which puts the Estuary in the international spotlight; providing new spaces for creative businesses to help regenerate north Kent’s town centres; and developing the talent and leadership skills needed to build innovative and creative businesses.

Light Vessel 21, GravesendRob Bennett said:

“This is really good news for North Kent and shows that government sees the significant economic potential of the Estuary in Kent. It demonstrates the importance of our region to one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the UK. And it shows the real value of working in partnership across the Estuary. We look forward to more good news from government as they prepare their formal response to last year’s Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission report.”

Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council said:

"This announcement is enormously positive news and acknowledges the tremendous potential of the Thames Estuary in Kent to make an even greater contribution to the UK economy. Working with the creative industries we have already made a real impact in Kent and this funding will enable us to do even more, supporting our ambitious plans to realise the full potential of the Estuary and its unique geography, building on the Government’s recent Thames Estuary Growth Commission and encouraging further investment into this critically important area."

Click on this link for more detail about today's announcement, and here for more information about the Cultural Development Fund.