WORK will be done to ‘unlock the full potential’ of culture and sport in West Yorkshire.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and partners are working together to unlock the full potential of culture, sport and major events as a driver of growth and wellbeing across the region.

With the tourist and leisure economy worth £9 billion a year to Yorkshire and the Humber, the LEP has commissioned work to assess how culture can play a greater role across the region and how it can be integrated into other activities to maximise impact.

Working with partners, the LEP has developed a City Region Cultural Framework and outline Vision document considers how cultural opportunities can be developed or where it can add value to other programmes.

The work builds on the LEP’s position as an advocate for culture and its ability to bring together local and national partners from the cultural, heritage, sporting and events sectors.

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Roger Marsh, chair of the LEP and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “Our cultural and historical assets, heritage, parks and countryside, and sporting and major events are incredibly important to Leeds City Region.

"They underpin our leisure and tourism economy as well as bringing people together, creating a shared sense of pride in our region and contributing to the excellent quality of life that makes it so attractive to live and work here.

“As Chair of the Piece Hall Trust in Halifax, I have seen first-hand the enormous positive impact that cultural assets can have. The restoration of the Piece Hall has been an incredible investment, adding £26 million to the local economy since the it reopened in 2017 and kick-starting wider regeneration.”

Pete Massey, Director North – Yorkshire & The Humber for Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be working with Leeds City Region in partnership with National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Yorkshire Sport to make sure that arts, culture, heritage and sport can make the fullest contribution possible to the economic and social wellbeing of the City Region.

“This new cultural framework enables the City Region to exploit the full potential of culture and represents an innovative new approach to partnership working between local authorities, the culture heritage and sport sectors and cultural funding bodies.

“It’s brilliant that Leeds City Region recognises that our cultural infrastructure sustains and grows our places, just as digital and transport infrastructure connect them. Arts and culture, heritage, sport and libraries create places that help individuals flourish, and that bring communities together.”

The Framework is designed to be used by the LEP and other partners to make sure culture is considered when other activities are being planned.

It will also emphasise the how the City Region’s cultural offer contributes to a great quality of life, support cultural businesses to maximise their potential and increase visitor numbers and spending, and increase in employment in culture, sport and arts roles across the City Region.

In developing the Cultural Framework and Vision, the LEP has worked with West Yorkshire Chief Executives and Local Authority heads of culture, as well as cultural funding bodies including Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, and Yorkshire Sport/Sport England.