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Source: City of Plymouth

Plymouth’s innovative iMayflower project could be i-mazing for the city’s flourishing creative sector.

The exciting programme received £3.5 million from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund and the Council has been working with six partners, Creative England, Crowdfunder, Plymouth College of Art, Real Ideas Organisation, the University of Plymouth and Destination Plymouth to increase this investment to £5.9 million.

Now the Council’s Brexit, Infrastructure and Legislative Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be getting the lowdown on what the project means to Plymouth, where the money could be spent and why it’s great for the city. They will be looking at the project when they meet on July 17.

The iMayflower project aims to provide a lasting economic legacy that makes the most of and goes beyond the city’s Mayflower 400’s cultural programme using it to support Plymouth’s digital economy. Investment will be made in four areas:

  • Skills and learning programme – increasing the creative and business skills of young people, communities, graduate and professionals. This includes a smart citizens outreach programme by Plymouth College of Art, TechStars Start Up weekends and cultural and creative leadership courses provided by the University of Plymouth
  • Creative sector business support – particularly focussing on immersive media and digital fabrication. Support includes workspace at the Market Hall Devonport, bespoke business support for creative sector students, encouraging them to set up business and stay in Plymouth after graduation, a specialist skills and business support programme delivered by Creative England
  • Access to innovative finance – providing accessible start-up and scale-up funding for businesses in our creative economy, through Crowdfunder and Creative England, who supports and invests in digital creative companies.
  • Place shaping – delivering large scale cultural and creative events to inspire and enrich lives, examples include Illuminate, the Mayflower Trails Launch, Ignite: Festival of Creativity and the Arts Weekender

Council leader Tudor Evans said: “Plymouth is riding a wave of change and optimism in the cultural and creative sector. All around us are examples of great stuff happening – the Box is being built, Ocean Studios is thriving and the Market Hall in Devonport will be a centre for research, enterprise, education in the new technology of virtual and augmented reality.

“We need to keep the makers, the doers and brilliant ideas people here by working with our incredibly talented partners to make sure these entrepreneurs feel supported.”

In 2017 creative industries were worth £128 million to the Plymouth economy and provided 3,366 full time equivalent jobs.  The digital technology sector was worth £85 million and has seen a growth in the number of jobs of almost 60 per cent since 2011.

Deputy leader Pete Smith said: “This sector really matters; huge strides in technology means jobs are potentially under threat of automation.

“We need to get ahead of the curve. We need to this sector to flourish here, to bring in or nurture our own talent. It’s incredibly exciting, it’s also an entirely new world for many of us so getting a feel for how this project benefits Plymouth is crucial.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom