BARNSLEY has been named as one of 15 ‘priority places’ in the north that Arts Council England want to develop new opportunities for investment.

The body’s three-year delivery plan up to 2024 was released last week and highlights where there are opportunities for ‘investment, collaboration and progress’.

Barnsley is one of just 54 towns and cities in England and 15 in the north handed the title of a ‘priority place’ by the arts council.

Bosses will work closely with Barnsley to develop new opportunities for investment, and it’s hoped it will give local residents the opportunity to enjoy cultural experiences.

The Culture Recovery Fund, totalling an unprecedented £1.96bn, is the biggest one-off investment in culture from the government in history - and Barnsley will likely receive funding which provides a vital lifeline to the town’s cultural sector.

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Barnsley Council say that culture is ‘at the heart’ of the town’s regeneration plans and funding means there is now a ‘huge potential’ to help realised the borough’s cultural ambitions.

Since the start of the pandemic the town has received £1.99m investment from the arts council - and there’s now further potential to develop creative industries and communities across Barnsley, such as Goldthorpe which is already in receipt of new Stronger Towns funding.

Sir Steve Houghton, leader of the council, said: “We’re proud of our quality, award-winning cultural offer in Barnsley.

“It’s great news that we’ll be working with Arts Council England to develop this further and enable more residents, visitors and communities to participate in a huge variety of cultural experiences.

“Culture, wellbeing and the economy are closely linked. We’ll build on our cultural offer coming back strong from the pandemic, to make Barnsley a place of possibilities, where culture is embedded in all our placemaking work.”

The latest news comes after Experience Barnsley was named as a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize - one of the reasons the town’s culture stock has been on the rise in the last few years.

Pete Massey, the director of Arts Council England North, added: “I am pleased to see Barnsley announced today as one of our 15 priority places across the north.

“The launch of our delivery plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new ten-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Barnsley to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the north.

“There is a clear appetite for arts and culture in Barnsley, demonstrated not only by the cultural organisations and creative practitioners who work across the borough but also by Barnsley Council’s plans to put culture at the centre of its regeneration ambitions.

“I look forward to working more closely with partners in the sector and in the local authority to make these aims a reality.”