7th March 2024

The Dept of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced £5 million of support for the development of the National Poetry Centre in Leeds.

The centre is the brainchild of Yorkshire-based Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and will be the lasting legacy of his tenure – a buzzing national hub promoting poetry, literacy, oracy and learning for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

The project has taken four years to develop and was made possible thanks to the unwavering support of our partners Arts Council England, the University of Leeds, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority who have backed and encouraged the NPC through the pandemic. The funding will enable the centre to go forward with plans for capital development whilst devising a programme of poetry activities across the country.

The award from DLUHC will help create the country’s first dedicated national headquarters for poetry – a unique space for awards, events, study areas, major performances, exhibitions, workshops, gatherings, literary organisations, open-mic nights, a library, state-of-the-art collections and archives. A place where visitors can find new ways to express their thoughts and feelings in written and spoken words.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage said: “My highest ambition when appointed Poet Laureate was to create a national home for poetry in my native West Yorkshire. The award of five million pounds from the Dept of Levelling Up is a huge step forward in the building of the National Poetry Centre in Leeds. I’m thrilled that so many people see the good and the sense in this idea, and I am excited to be confidently planning the next stage of development.”

NPC Chair Ruth Pitt said: We could not be happier. We met the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove recently and were struck by his understanding of the value of poetry to inspire people and provide a platform for self-expression irrespective of their educational background or experiences. Our country’s poetry heritage goes back thousands of years and has produced some of the world’s most distinguished poets, as a cultural art form it’s an important part of our national identity – and the National Poetry Centre will give poetry its very own dedicated national cultural centre at last.”