Creatively keeping communities alive

The UK's creative industries are booming. These are our museums and galleries; artists and designers; film, TV and radio shows; musicians and performers; IT and software companies.

From House to Home with Amber Rudd MP SUS-160526-130924001
From House to Home with Amber Rudd MP SUS-160526-130924001

This sector grew 34% - more than any other – between 2010 and 2015. It contributed £87.4bn to the economy in 2015 with employment in the sector increasing by around 400,000 jobs between 2011 and 2016.

Nowhere can this boom be seen more clearly than in Hastings and Rye. Here, since 2010, the number of people employed in the creative industries has increased by almost 60%. There are now around 1,000 local people working in this sector.

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Culture, art and performance are at the very heart of what makes our area so special. If you wanted, I’m sure you could spend every weekend of the year seeing something different – our major festivals, music concerts (both big and small), the latest headline exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery and our incredible range of independent exhibitions and open studios. All of these not only demonstrate the rich talent of local people but also that our ongoing regeneration is built on this creativity.

It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to see this for myself as your MP. So far in 2017 I’ve attended the Hastings International Piano Concerto – always a highlight of the year and I’m already looking ahead to next year’s competition! – and visited the Rye Society of Artists Summer Exhibition, this year’s Coastal Currents Arts Festival including an exhibition by Nick Hill at the Southwater Area Community Centre, exhibitions by Sheryl Hall and Chris Dredge at the Zoom Art Gallery, and the latest showcase of local art at The Stables Theatre and Art Centre. All of these are not just wonderful to see and visit, it’s also great that local people are making the most of their abilities and interests, and the opportunities made available by our thriving creative sector.

Last week the Government published the Bazalgette review into the creative industries which made recommendations on how we can build on this growth and keep the boom going.

Through a strong partnership between government and industry our creative industries could be worth £128.4bn to the UK economy by 2025 helping to create up to 1m new jobs by 2030.

Our local communities are already high performers in this sector and I am confident that we will build on this foundation to go further and make the most of this potential for growth.

Our creativity does not just ensure that our area is one of the most exciting and enjoyable places to live, it’s also providing us with the opportunities to make the very most of our talents.