Kala Sangam is awarded £4,998,500 grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund.
It was announced today that Kala Sangam, Bradford’s arts centre, has been successful in its application for £4,998,500 to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund to support the company’s ambitious capital plans and establish a new arts hub network in Bradford district.
The funding, administered by Arts Council England, will support Kala Sangam in redeveloping its Grade II listed building, creating a new 200-seat theatre space, 5 new studios and a new home for Bradford Community Broadcasting. A new entrance, lift, Changing Places facility, lobby and central staircase will be created, to ensure the building is accessible to all in time for Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture in 2025.
As well as providing critical financial support for Kala Sangam’s capital redevelopment, the funding will also enable the organisation to establish a new network of arts hubs across Bradford District with partner venues The Rockwell Centre, South Square Centre and Keighley Creative. The four hubs will deliver a two-year arts and heritage programme at each site, co-creating activity with local communities who currently have little engagement with funded cultural work.
Through this funding, the capacity of the cultural sector in Bradford will be significantly increased. 15 full time equivalent jobs will be created across the four sites and more than 50 additional artists will be supported to develop and maintain their careers each year. The activity programme will mean many more people across the district are able to take part in cultural activity and see high-quality, affordable performances on their doorstep.
The project will be overseen by Bradford Metropolitan District Council on behalf of Bradford’s Cultural Place Partnership.
This funding builds on the previously announced £295,758 Development Phase funding received by Kala Sangam in September 2022 from National Lottery Heritage Fund, which has enabled the organisation to successfully apply for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for the proposed works and begin a detailed community engagement programme to inform future activity.
Jas Athwal DL, Kala Sangam’s Chair of the Board said: ‘I am delighted that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has agreed to award us this funding. The project will be transformational for Bradford. Our capital plans will see our home redeveloped into the state-of-the-art arts centre that a city of Bradford’s size deserves. It will, finally, enable access to our publicly funded building for all.’
Alex Croft, Kala Sangam’s Creative Director said: ‘This funding represents a massive step forward towards making our ambitious redevelopment plans a reality. I’m hugely grateful to both DCMS and Arts Council England for their support, and I’d like to thank Bradford Council for the belief, guidance and funding they’ve provided us over the last few years as we’ve developed our capital plans.
The activity programme will see us working with partners to reach underserved communities across the district, making sure everyone has access to the benefits we know cultural engagement brings. We can’t wait to get started with the brilliant people at The Rockwell Centre, South Square Centre and Keighley Creative to start making a difference throughout Bradford!’
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Healthy People and Places Portfolio at BMDC said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled that Kala Sangam has been awarded this funding from DCMS. Not only will it enable the organisation to grow, it also provides opportunities to maximise its impact on the local, regional and national arts ecology. It’s so important for us as a district to invest in our assets, especially as we approach Bradford 2025 and embed our arts and cultural strategy, Culture is our Plan. This investment will play a huge role in the district’s arts and cultural offer and our legacy.’
The project aims to build capacity and create lasting change in Bradford’s cultural sector before and during the district’s year as UK City of Culture in 2025.
Dan Bates, Executive Director, and Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director, Bradford 2025 said: ‘When you invest like this in an organisation with the deep roots that Kala Sangam has laid in Bradford, you’re doing so much more than improving its buildings. This is a statement of belief in the value of art within our communities here. And it’s a big step in advancing the cultural capital of the District as we look to 2025 and way, way beyond. We’re so happy for Kala Sangam and we’re really looking forward to working together to create an unforgettable year as UK City of Culture.’