As the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and looks
to the future, it’s clear that Britain’s genuinely world-beating
creative industries can play a vital role both in rebuilding the
country’s economy and helping communities emerge from
successive lockdowns.

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Why build back creatively?

For councils, structuring their rebuilding strategies around the creative industries will enable them to effectively address three important and interconnected goals:

  1. Help rebuild damaged economies.
  2. Boost community wellbeing and enable communities to reconnect with each other.
  3. Revitalise their local creative industries, an important part of their wider local economies.

Many of the creative industries have been hit especially hard by lockdown and the ill-effects will last longer than for other sectors of the economy. Before the pandemic, the creative industries were one of the fastest growing sectors, contributing £115.9 billion to the UK economy in 2019.

But, crucially, the creative economies can help breathe new life into our local communities, helping councils address the long-term decline of town and city centres which has been accelerated by the pandemic. The output of vibrant creative industries will also create a focus for people to rally around and rebuild the confidence of communities whose rhythm has been disrupted by multiple lockdowns.

A vibrant local creative economy is exactly the hotbed of creativity and innovation that can help councils to take on the challenges of a post-COVID-19 world, generating jobs and investment in local economies, and revitalising the confidence of their communities.

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Why use this toolkit to do it?

This toolkit provides a four-stage process to help you structure a programme of support for the creative economy in your area. You can use some or all of it as best meets your needs.

  1. Know what’s happening in your area
  2. Design a programme of support
  3. Set goals
  4. Harness local levers for change

This toolkit is based in part on the Creative Places - Supporting Your Local Creative Economy guidance launched in August 2020 and created by The Audience Agency’s Innovation Unit for the Local Government Association. We are grateful for their permission to reproduce portions of it.

It also brings in learnings from our other place-based work including that on local creative and cultural strategic partnerships such as ‘cultural compacts’ and evaluation of place-based initiatives including Creative People and Places and Great Places.

It’s a beta – and we would be grateful for your feedback as you use it. Please email

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