A POPULAR local venue will receive almost £5 million worth of funding to help it expand in time for Bradford’s year as the City of Culture.

Arts centre Kala Sangam will benefit from a £4.9 million fund, which will go towards a major refurbishment.

The changes will see the centre become a “bigger, more welcoming and accessible space” and are hoped to be completed by 2025.

Kala Sangam specialises in showcasing and supporting South Asian arts, but also caters to other cultures from across the district.

It occupies St Peter's House – opposite The Broadway – a Grade II listed building which dates back to the 1880s.

Events and performances at Kala Sangam have been affected by an ‘awkward’ layout and a small entrance, it was said when the refurbishment plans were outlined in November.

Speaking back then, a spokesperson for the venue said: “Our ambitious plans will see the company take over the ground of our building, putting in a new 200-seat theatre, creating four new studio spaces, opening up a new prominent, easy to find front entrance and installing a new lift to give access to all floors.

“We hope to begin work on our building in January 2024 and then reopen in 2025 as a major milestone in the City of Culture programme.”

Kala Sangam is one of over 70 projects across the country which have benefited from the Cultural Investment Fund, announced today by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. 

They will all share a pot of £58.8 million which will see arts venues transformed, upgraded and created as part of the government’s plans to make sure everyone, no matter where they live, can access the UK’s world-renowned culture.

Arts Council England will deliver this fund on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Culture helps us create lifelong memories with our families and friends, provides entertainment and joy, and allows us to explore the world around us in new and exciting ways. It can also boost tourism, support local business and drive local economic growth.

“This funding will support brilliant arts organisations to upgrade their venues and create new projects that will be at the heart of their communities.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, added: “Investment in creativity and culture is a catalyst for improving well-being and raising aspirations, reinvigorating pride in communities, regenerating high streets and local economies and bringing people together.

“We are pleased to play a part in delivering the Cultural Investment Fund and this £58 million investment will help create new, or improve existing, cultural buildings and spaces in our villages, towns and cities.

“By doing so it will support recovery and growth and unlock the creative potential of those who live and work in communities across England.”