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A new campaign has today (26 May) been launched to get people enjoying Tees Valley’s businesses as 17 festivals were also awarded part of £350,000 to ensure the show can go on this year.
As part of English Tourism Week, Enjoy Tees Valley has worked with some of our best local companies as part of a campaign highlighting what’s great about the region and to encourage people to explore our attractions and back our amazing businesses.
The launch comes as popular festivals across the region - including the Middlesbrough Mela, Hartlepool Waterfront Festival, Darlington R&B Festival, Stockton’s Make and Mend and The Festival of Thrift in Redcar and Cleveland - secured funding to help them adapt and deliver their events in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
A strong schedule of events, running from July to December, is essential to give local people something to look forward to as lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed, encourage visitors to the region and helping our town centres and some of our hardest-hit businesses recover.
The Tees Valley Festivals 2021 Recovery Fund is the latest support for the culture and tourism sectors to be implemented by a Task Force established by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and chaired by ARC’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director Annabel Turpin.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Now that Government’s coronavirus restrictions have lifted further, we need to spread the message of all the great things to do, places to visit and businesses to back and get people enjoying Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – responsibly and safely – once more.
“This campaign and the funding for our region’s festivals will ramp up anticipation for six months of fun, with these events joining other big-ticket items such as Rugby League World Cup 2021 in November. Now many people are hunting for staycations and UK breaks rather than foreign getaways, we’ve got even more opportunity to attract visitors and boost our profile further.
“Spending at home, and bringing more tourists to our region, will in turn help out our high streets and towns, with people back in shops, restaurants and hotels, supporting people’s livelihoods and putting money back in tills and pockets after a very difficult 12 months.”
Cllr Shane Moore, Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Culture and Tourism, said: “As well as having a fantastic variety of places to visit, whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Tees Valley has an excellent track record of organising and hosting some terrific events too.
“As we work our way gradually and carefully out of restrictions and back towards more normal life, it’s great to have good things to look forward to and this campaign and funding is playing an important part in that.
“As well as enjoying our attractions and events safely and responsibly, we can also take great pride knowing that we’re all playing our part in helping our wonderful area and its venues and businesses to rise again after COVID.”
Annabel Turpin said: “We have a brilliant programme of festivals in the Tees Valley that bring our communities together as well as attracting visitors. This latest support means our successful and dynamic creative sector can continue delivering amazing experiences despite the challenges of COVID.
“Through the recovery fund, we’ve been able to foster innovation, assist young creatives, and support hospitality and culture, so I am delighted that we’re now able to help our much-loved festivals to return this year.”
The new Festivals 2021 Recovery Fund was created in the wake of the success of other backing for our culture, leisure and hospitality sectors. These include the £1million Welcome Back Fund and schemes under the £1million Recovery Programme for the Cultural Industries and Visitor Economy, including the £300,000 Cultural Development and Innovation Fund and the Tees Valley Young Creatives: Class of 2021 scheme.