More than half a million pounds will be used to further boost the region’s culture sector, it was announced today (10 January).

A total of £579,862 from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority’s Growth Programme for the Creative and Visitor Economies will be used to fund a number of initiatives, targeting every level of the sector and supporting more than 850 people.

The Tees Valley New Creatives programme, initially set up in 2021 to help young people in the creative industries start on the path to a rewarding career in the face of coronavirus, will be one of the first to benefit. Its success has seen it expand to give more people newly out of training a leg-up to secure work, forge connections and unlock new opportunities in their field.

Stockton’s ARC, which is delivering the programme, will also pilot a scheme to help cultural organisations develop strong leadership and governance, bringing leaders together to provide peer support and work together to solve industry challenges for the first time.

A package of measures will be delivered by Clore Leadership to address workforce development and training, including workshops and mentoring, to give people and organisations the skills they need to grow and succeed.

The final strand of funding will bolster the region’s already strong slate of events, building on last year’s £1.6million Festivals Scale-Up programme to establish a network of festivals and boost volunteering.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “From young new talent to our industry leaders and the workforce in between, this funding will work right across the sector at every level.

“It will help local people into good-quality, well-paid careers in culture and the arts, and give those already working in it the skills and chance to go on to bigger and better things

“Ultimately, like everything we’re working to do, this will give organisations the opportunity to grow, create jobs and make Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool even better places to live and do business.”

Cllr Shane Moore, Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Culture and Tourism and Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We have a wealth of culture talent in our region, and a calendar of fantastic events and festivals that draw people from far and wide.

“This funding will help us make a step-change in how the sector operates, ensuring these bodies and festivals can become much more than the sum of their parts and deliver even more great work.”

The full programme of Clore Leadership activity will be launched on 31 January from 1.30pm at Darlington’s Theatre Hullabaloo. For more information and to register, visit www.cloreleadership.org/register-tees-valley-programme-launch