The city of Plymouth has been awarded £3.5m by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to help fund its plans for the Mayflower 400-year anniversary.

Mayflower400 is a programme of events taking place throughout 2020, a year which marks the historic 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship’s departure from Plymouth to the USA.

The Mayflower’s voyage has taken on symbolic significance in the USA, as it brought the first English Puritans, or Pilgrims, to the country.

To mark the occasion, Plymouth is hosting a number of festivals, conferences, markets, and much more throughout 2020.

These will include Illuminate 2019, a lighting festival set to launch the commemorative year, as well as the Mayflower Ocean Festival, the Mayflower 400 Pilgrim Conference, and the opening of new cultural heritage venue The Box. For a full list of events, visit the website here.

The funding will go towards creative sector initiatives that could see over 4,000 people offered training, business support and professional development opportunities as part of the iMayflower project.

Over 200 businesses and social enterprises will benefit from support to develop new products, services, content and jobs over the next financial year, providing skills development for people from a range of communities, ages and backgrounds.

Council leader Tudor Evans OBE said: “I’m really pleased about this news for the Mayflower programme as it very well reflects the national importance of the project.

“This announcement for funding to develop creative industries is extremely exciting. Plymouth has built a creative industry sector from scratch in a short number of years and this funding means we can harness the talent we have now and develop it for the future.”

Another key aim of iMayflower is to help companies and organisation access finance through a partnership with Crowdfunder and Creative England.

Professor Andrew Brewerton, principal and CEO for Plymouth College of Art, said: “This project represents a real step change for the city and for Plymouth College of Art, as we build a creative ecology that nurtures talent and empowers our citizens as makers, artists and designers.”

Pictured: Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

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