Kent County Council bids for £1.2m government grant to support film, music and fashion industry

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Kent County Council bids for £1.2m government grant to support film, music and fashion industry

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About 100 creative industry businesses in the south east, including Kent and Medway, could be boosted with a £1.2m grant funding in the next three years.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launched a new growth program to attract more investment in local areas. It supports micro-firms that specialize in film, music, fashion, and the arts.

The region’s creative arts sector could be in line for a £1.2m boost

Kent County Council (KCC) is seeking to enter into a grant agreement with Liz Truss’ government as it wants to take a lead role in managing the cash pot, which will run from 2022 to 2025.

Cllr Mike Hill, who is KCC’s cabinet member for communities, said: “It’s not a huge sum of money, but obviously very welcome.

“Anything that can support the creative industry certainly has my support.”

His comments came during KCC’s economic development committee meeting on Thursday.

In 2020, the UK’s creative industries contributed £95 billion to the national economy and employed more than 2.3 million people.

Cllr Mike Hill
Cllr Mike Hill

KCC’s funding bid will be allocated to local creative businesses and ensure firms are “best placed” to attract further investment in the future.

In addition, a £7million national fund will be made available to any businesses in a successful area for extra financial support, either as grant or loans.

Tudor Price, the deputy chief executive of Kent’s Chamber of Commerce, said last week he would be “grateful” for any extra financial help received from Whitehall, following Brexit and the cost of living crisis.

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He said: “Kent is at risk of being passed over with the Levelling Up agenda.

“So it is important that when opportunities arise, we work together to secure what funding we can.”

How Ashford International Studios could look
How Ashford International Studios could look

Liberal Democrat county councillor Mike Sole raised concerns over the funding available. He said: “It does not seem like a huge amount of money.”

The county council will be informed “imminently” if the creative industry fund bid is successful ahead of a project launch in October.

Kent hosts the UK’s largest regional independent TV broadcast facility, Maidstone Studios, which celebrated 40 years of existence in 2022.

Memorable shows filmed at the TV HQ at Vinters Business Park include Dale’s Supermarket Sweep , Catchphrase and Family Fortunes.

And construction work has started on Ashford International Studios, which has ambitions to be the leading film and television production facility in the south east and has been linked with streaming giants Netflix, Amazon and HBO.

The Grade II-listed Newtown railway works will be turned into a large studio hub and provide space for a new Kent Film School.

KCC is working closely with Essex County Council, Screen South, Creative Estuary and the University of Essex over the bid.

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