South East Creatives: Supporting the creative industries in East Sussex

Posted on 28/07/2020

South East CreativesMarina Norris, South East Creatives Co-Ordinator for East Sussex spoke to us about the Programme and the future for the creative industries in the region.

What is South East Creatives and who is it aimed at?

South East Creatives is a business support programme aimed at those businesses and sole traders/freelancers working within the Creative Industries.

There are grants available to help businesses adapt and grow in challenging times, and there is training and mentoring available so that the individuals behind the businesses can build their skillsets and knowledge.

Why did it come about?

The creative industries, prior to Covid-19, were the fastest growing industry in the country. However, many cultural and creative businesses were not making use of traditional business support, learning ‘on the job’ and not accessing the grants available to grow their businesses.

This programme aims to meet the needs of creative businesses, artists and sole traders of all sizes, but also to profile the great businesses based in the region, and widen the networks of creative businesses based here.

How does South East Creatives help the development of creative industries in the region?

There are a huge number of creative businesses, artists and freelancers based in the region. So far, we’ve helped individuals and businesses access grant funding to grow and diversify what they do some of which is a result of the impact of Covid-19. We’re supporting the people behind the businesses to develop new skills and take time to reflect on how to respond to a changing climate for their work.

The Programme aims to respond to both individual business needs and any collective gaps that may exist. For example, by commissioning local training to respond to collective needs – such as the recent course we ran on developing your Social Media Strategy – we can help local organisations to reach more people. We’ve also brought people together through training and events, helping to build networks and enabling participants to support one another.

The creative industries are a success story for this country and this programme is helping many people within this industry navigate an ever-changing set of circumstances that are affecting their work at the moment.

How can individual businesses benefit?

There are a variety of events online that are open to all, but businesses can also choose to apply for either 12 hours of training and mentoring support, or apply for a Grant.

What’s the importance of the Towner’s involvement as a Creative Hub?

As a cultural hub, Towner brings creative people and businesses together. It will be here long after the Programme finishes supporting the growth of the cultural and creative offer for Eastbourne and beyond. It’s support brings credibility, expertise and imagination to the programme.

What sort of businesses has South East Creatives helped and how?

We have supported a wide range of businesses and individuals, from PR agencies, to digital online platforms to individual artists and festival organisers.

What do you hope the legacy of the Programme will be?

That those who participated in the Programme saw tangible benefits, and their local professional networks have increased. Also, the conditions for their ongoing success were created across the region, and that further funding was available for an ongoing offer of business support and training.

Do you see a positive future for the creative industries at this difficult time?

The greatest asset we have in this industry is our ability to be creative. We are therefore able to adapt and imagine, these are essential skills that will help us respond to an uncertain future.

The last few months have also reminded us that arts and culture are essential in our lives. We’ve seen creativity abound all over our social media, we’ve turned to favourite music, online galleries, books and films for comfort and escape.

It might be tough, but this industry is full of talent and we’ll collectively find ways to be useful and relevant now and in the future.

How does a business go about taking advantage of South East Creatives?

The first step is to go through our eligibility process and then one of the team will be in touch – visit

About Marina

Marina has over 25 years of experience working in arts and culture across the public, not-for-profit and private sector. Outside of South East Creatives, her current roles include Interim Executive Director at Brighton People’s Theatre; Associate Tutor at Goldsmiths University; Co-Chair of What Next? in Brighton & Hove; a trustee for both Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival; and running her own consultancy, Cultural Baggage.