Cultural Kilmarnock receives Levelling Up Funding of £20m
Local dreams and aspirations to pitch Kilmarnock as a national cultural destination are a step closer to becoming a reality today as the project secures £20million from the UK Government Levelling Up Fund.
Cultural Kilmarnock is an extensive project that involves an area to the east of the town centre and includes culturally significant buildings including the Palace Theatre, Grand Hall and the Dick Institute.
The design of a ‘Cultural Park’ that creates green corridors and active travel routes between these key heritage assets and the town centre will provide increased opportunities for outdoor performances and events. The project also includes major reimagining of the Palace Theatre and Grand Hall to create a regional concert hall and theatre with extensive improvements to the accessibility and energy efficiency.
The exciting and ambitious project also promises to assist in increased employment and training opportunities within the creative industries, will contribute to local economy through high-profile programming attracting people from out with Kilmarnock and will develop wellbeing initiatives through community engagement and participation in programmes and activities, including the creation of a Young People’s Theatre.
This project is being developed in partnership with East Ayrshire Leisure Trust and will link into the Kilmarnock Town Centre Strategic Regeneration Framework developed under the East Ayrshire Local Development Plan 2. Key stakeholders including Celebrate Kilmarnock, and Centrestage will be involved throughout the design process.
The Levelling Up Fund provides £800 million for capital investment for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that local authorities can bid for. Cultural Kilmarnock is one of only 10 projects in Scotland to secure money from this second round on the Levelling up Fund.
Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP visited Kilmarnock’s Palace Theatre earlier today to see for himself what the proposals would entail and the benefits they will bring to the town, East Ayrshire and beyond.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council said: “We are all tremendously excited about today’s announcement - this is the stuff dreams are made of! This investment in our cultural offerings project will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to East Ayrshire."
Councillor Clare Maitland, Chair of East Ayrshire Leisure Trust said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this news. The investment will be fantastic for the town and East Ayrshire, revitalising a much-loved building which inspired many things including the Ballroom Blitz. I can’t wait to see the music, drama and performers that we’ll welcome to the area in the future.”