LEEDS 2023 secures £1m funding

City Square, Leeds

With a year to go to the start of LEEDS 2023, Leeds Culture Trust has secured the backing of major investment partners to support the development and delivery of the planned year-long cultural celebration.

Public sector organisations and private sector businesses’ combined investment of £1million is a major boost to LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, which aims to be a key contributor the city region’s pandemic recovery, creating a positive and lasting legacy.

£500,000 funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation will support a major project that will take place in the lead up to and during LEEDS 2023, featuring artists working in the heart of communities across all 33 wards of the city.

Moira Sinclair, chief executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: “LEEDS 2023 aims to unlock the creative potential of local people in all communities, empowering them to develop work that celebrates the culture and voices of the city. At the heart of this project is a commitment to building skills and demonstrating the value of inclusive practice in supporting local communities and we look forward to seeing the programme take shape in an exciting year ahead.”

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has awarded more than £288,000 to support a range of activities including a creative learning programme and opportunities for children and young people. £150,000 has been secured from the British Council, which is already working with LEEDS 2023 to support creative partnerships between Leeds artists and international collaborators to make new work for the city’s landmark year of culture.

British Council Director England, Ellen Berry said: “LEEDS 2023 is an exciting opportunity for the city to explore its heritage, expand its global connections with new relationships, and create together through the themes of language and diaspora. This is exactly what our international cultural network is about, for artists to exchange ideas and explore cultures across geographical boundaries.”

In a major show of confidence from the business sector, KPMG – which employs 1,100 people in the city – has confirmed a significant financial commitment alongside pro-bono support including volunteering time, use of staff and resources.

Representing the built environment sector, developer HBD and global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald also join as LEEDS 2023 Club Members.

Kully Thiarai, CEO and creative director for LEEDS 2023, said: “LEEDS 2023 will be a huge team effort, involving many partners of all kinds to be a truly transformational milestone that is accessible for everyone. These partnerships and the investment that comes with them are a significant show of confidence in the vital role culture plays in creating a successful, inclusive city.

“We are thankful to our funders and corporate partners whose backing is instrumental in bringing to life our ambitions for LEEDS 2023 and we look forward to making further announcements later this month as we mark our ‘one year to go ‘milestone.”

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