Creativity, culture and ideas play a huge role in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s economic and social futures. The recently-launched Keele Deal | Culture is a landmark agreement between Keele University and local partners to realise the full potential of the University’s cultural resources and assets for the benefit of the local area.

A new collaboration launched in January 2019 between local cultural and civic organisations, led by Keele University, is set to boost the local economy of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by £36million over the next decade.

Working in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, The New Vic Theatre, B arts, British Ceramics Biennial, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Keele aims to deliver a unique deal designed to stimulate the growth of the region’s cultural economy. The Deal has also received support from Staffordshire County Council and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership.

Through a range of innovative business support programmes, the Deal will create over 300 new jobs in the next 10 years, boosting the local economy by over £8.6m. It will help 150 businesses in the creative and cultural sectors through funded innovation projects and provide leadership development programmes to 75 owners, directors and managers in the creative and culture sectors.

In additional to enhancing local business productivity, the Deal will support creative and cultural partners through joint research, bringing in £3.9m of funding for cultural activities and creating positive impact for local communities.

Over the next decade, the Deal will also boost the region’s student numbers by bringing hundreds of new students to the University to study creative programmes, while at the same time placing 250 students in local creative organisations while studying. Additionally, the Deal aims to increase student retention by keeping 15% more graduates in the area by improving student experience and supporting the creative economy.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, said: “Creativity and culture play a huge role in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s economic and social futures. The Deal is a commitment from the University and its partners to invest in the growth of the local economy by supporting and helping to advance our cultural offer to the local community, through business support, research, events, and student recruitment and retention.”

Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “Staffordshire Chambers welcome this exciting new initiative. The creative sector is in the DNA of Stoke and Staffordshire and is a crucial – and growing – part of the economic landscape that makes us such an area of opportunity. We are proud to be associated with this new and ambitious project to raise the profile of the cultural sector and raise the impact of cultural activities on everyone’s wellbeing.”