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Creative industry's vital role

PUBLISHED: 08:58 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:36 03 July 2010

Norfolk's creative industries are worth £750m to the county's economy and currently employ around 20,000 people, it emerged yesterday.

The creative industries are a vital part of the region's economy and there are particular strengths in the visual arts, performing arts, creative writing, music, media and the digital content industries, a Norfolk County Council report reveals.

Norfolk's creative industries are worth £750m to the county's economy and currently employ around 20,000 people, it emerged yesterday.

The creative industries are a vital part of the region's economy and there are particular strengths in the visual arts, performing arts, creative writing, music, media and the digital content industries, a Norfolk County Council report reveals.

Paul Adams, the county council's director of corporate resources and cultural services, says the creative industries sector is one of seven key sectors in Norfolk and its growth and development forms an important part of the Shaping Norfolk's Future strategy.

“Economic forecasting models highlight it as a growth sector and one which has a high proportion of knowledge-based jobs within it,” he says in the report.

“The sector is also relatively unique to Norfolk in that it is at least partly founded on the strong media cluster that has evolved over the last 50 years since Norwich was chosen as the broadcast base for Anglia TV. That skill base is still strong, although it has diversified into a wide range of other digital media activity including web design.

“It is estimated that around 20,000 people are currently employed in the sector - this equates to 5pc of total employment in Norfolk. The sector's added value to the county's economy is also significant at approximately £750m - which is about 5pc of total GVA (gross value added).”

The report says the county council works closely with Screen East to encourage film-makers to use Norfolk as a location. For a relatively modest investment of £10,000 from the county council, this activity has led to 333 days of filming in Norfolk (almost half of it in north Norfolk), bringing in more than £700,000 in 2008/09.

The county council's cultural services department has also successfully secured £1,371,647 of Lottery funds to refurbish Great Yarmouth library, and is contribut-ing £850,000 towards redeveloping the town's former St George's Chapel into a multi-use venue with an emphasis on the arts through the government's Sea Change prog-ramme.

Figures also show that Norwich Theatre Royal injected £19,696,942 into Norfolk's economy in 2006/07 - an increase of 16pc on the previous year.

Other successes include the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, which this year sold 29,000 tickets, up 38pc from 21,000 in 2008, and the Hanse Festival in King's Lynn in July, which attracted significant numbers of people to the town. More than 4,500 people enjoyed a visit to the Lisa von Lübeck, a replica of a medieval Hanseatic ship over the three days the ship was docked.

Investment in EPIC, the East of England Production and Innovation Centre, formerly the Anglia TV studios in Magdalen Street in Norwich, has also paid off.

The report, which was discussed at a meeting of the county council's economic development and cultural services overview and scrutiny panel yesterday, states: “It is now widely recognised that EPIC provides the best equipped high-definition facility available for hire in the UK.

“EPIC now incubates 10 businesses in the creative media sector, and Norwich University of the Arts is running the third cohort of its video foundation course.”


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