Leicestershire’s design community is to receive a shot in the arm, thanks to a £250 000 project that has received the go-ahead from the East Midlands Development Agency.
The three-year Design Leicestershire programme is understood to be the first of its scale undertaken by a Regional Development Agency specifically targeting the creative industries. It aims to invigorate the design economy in the county by establishing a network of about 780 design consultancies.
The project seeks to increase the rate of joint ventures and inter-company trade among design consultancies, as well as boosting international business links and developing industry skills.
Funding will be delivered by the Leicester Shire Economic Partnership, a sub-regional organisation established by EMDA, the Welland Sub-Regional Strategic Partnership and other private sources, according to Libby Kingsley, strategic development manager at Welland SSP.
‘Leicestershire has the second biggest design economy outside London. This is a significant and in-depth investment in the industry embracing the full range of the creative industries,’ says Kingsley.
The LSEP is now on the hunt to appoint a group of partners, consultancies or individuals to lead the project, and has posted a tender for the work this month. The appointee will be tasked with laying the foundations for Design Leicestershire, developing its identity, image and marketing material, as well as defining the role, remit and operational responsibilities of the project.
Local design consultancies will be profiled to assess their interest in joining the network and a communications strategy to inform the local design industry about the project will also be established. An event will take place between February and March 2007 to promote the project and a consultation with the three major Leicestershire universities will be undertaken.
The first-phase contract will run initially from December until 15 March 2007, after which a review will be held to appoint a group or individual to deliver the final project.
The scheme will support the RDA’s long-term strategy to ensure the East Midlands becomes a ‘top 20’ European region by 2010, ranked according to a range of economic, social and environmental factors.
• The EMDA is one of nine UK Regional Development Agencies and was established in 1999
• For more information on the Design Leicestershire tender visit www.lsep.co.uk. Deadline for entries is 4 December 2006
• The RDAs are also funding the Design Council’s Dott and Designing Demand programmes