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Cambridgeshire libraries to receive £260,000 in funding which helps safeguard nation's cultural heritage

14 March 2022
  • Cambridgeshire Libraries among more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues to receive Government’s Cultural Investment Fund (CIF)
  • Awarded through the Libraries Investment Fund strand of the funding, this grant will help create flexible community spaces at Cambridge Central and March libraries

Galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country, including Cambridgeshire libraries, are to benefit from almost £50 million of funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

The libraries service has been awarded a grant of £260,000 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England. The grant, which will be supplemented by £128,968 of Section 106 funding, will help to create innovative, flexible and inclusive spaces at Cambridge Central and March libraries as part of the EverySpace project.

EverySpace is centred around adaptable, co-managed spaces that enable the community to connect, share, create and discover. It follows the ‘kit-of-parts’ model, capturing the flexibility and inventiveness of a pop-up within a defined architectural system. Enhanced wayfinding draws you in, with adaptable ceiling infrastructure providing moveable power, data and lighting. Multi-functional cabinets, moveable partitions and folding tables and chairs enable diverse configurations and a hi-spec, portable tech suite provides loanable tablets, mini-PCs and a wheeled touchscreen media wall. Accessible, dementia-friendly and autism-friendly design is at the heart of the project, making the spaces inclusive to all users.

At Cambridge Central Library EverySpace will be on the third floor, with users taking a journey through the library to reach the space. In March Library, EverySpace is a natural fit with the Future High Street Fund which will improve access from the High Street to the library. This gives an added opportunity to draw people in to experience the library’s offer.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson, said: “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

Councillor Tom Sanderson, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, said: “I am delighted that we have been successful in our application for this funding as it will make such a tremendous difference to the way the spaces at Cambridge Central and March libraries can be used.

“EverySpace’s future-proofed design is multi-usable and can serve different groups with different functions, further supporting our priority of making our spaces accessible to all. It can be transformed into a learning or skill-sharing space, or a place for community groups to meet or hold events and activities. It can be used or as an informal social space for community-led activities, such as gaming socials, crafting or reading groups. It can even be reconfigured to deliver health and wellbeing events and activities such as Good Mood Cafés and gentle exercise classes. I look forward to seeing our plans brought to reality, for the benefit of new and existing library users.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, said: “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives”.

The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund, and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund. The announcement follows a concerted effort by the Government to support the country’s vital cultural organisations.

The Libraries Improvement Fund is helping transform library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and digital infrastructure so they can respond to the changing ways people use them.