September 24 2020


Art for public spaces in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council has approved funding for the Art Challenge – a new project which will create art in public spaces across the county.

Cabinet approved £150,000 to be allocated from the Place Shaping and Capital Feasibility Fund for the Art Challenge. The project, linking in with Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, will create attractive spaces that will encourage shoppers to visit, while at the same time supporting safe movement and social distancing around towns. The initiative will also encourage active travel by creating areas that are attractive to walk to, and through.

Place curators will be commissioned to work with local artists to deliver schemes across the county, as well as to help deliver a £194k capital grant from the Government’s Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to deliver artist schemes in the north of the county.

The step is part of an ongoing strategy to boost the local economy, and support small businesses in particular to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The Art Challenge is one of five projects that are now underway which have been funded out of a £4m allocation from the £7.5m Place Shaping Fund. This was agreed by the County Council in June to support economic recovery and is part of the county council’s overarching recovery plan.

Other projects receiving funding from the Place Shaping Fund are:

· Free access for independent high street micro businesses to the County Council’s Employee Assistance Programme - a network of counsellors who can support employees with their mental health in light of the emotional strain some are feeling following lockdown measures.

· A marketing and promotion campaign to promote Warwickshire as a safe destination for tourism. £75,000 has been allocated to support this project which will focus on promoting rural tourism to the UK market and will complement the existing activity supporting small, independent tourism businesses.

· A Tech Challenge. £80,000 has been allocated towards a competition encouraging projects to help the retail and cultural sectors. The challenge will encourage businesses to include a digital approach in their process, and will increase skills levels and retain jobs.

· Survive, Sustain and Grow – a scheme offering intensive business support on a 1:1 basis. Specialist advisers will be available free of charge to business owners to review the business, its finances, explore potential for diversification and growth options and work together to develop an action plan. Nearly £300,000 has already been agreed by the Leader of the Council for this scheme which will prioritise sectors most hit by the Covid-19 crisis, notably retail, tourism, leisure and manufacturing.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for finance and property, said: “We’re delighted to approve the funding for the Art Challenge and add it to the comprehensive package of support for businesses that is underpinning our plan for economic recovery.”

You can find out more about these projects as they come on stream throughout the autumn, by keeping an eye on the Warwickshire County Council website: 


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