Lowry reports on its economic impact as it hits its quarter century

Published: 7 June 2024
Reporter: David Chadderton

The Lowry Credit: David Chadderton

A social and economic impact report commissioned from consultants Lichfields concludes that The Lowry generates £90m annually for the Salford economy and delivers £22.4m of social value through its outreach programmes.

The arts centre was opened by the Queen on 12 October 2000 in the middle of largely unoccupied land in Salford Quays around the Manchester Ship Canal, which closed in 1982. The report credits the venue with kicking off a regeneration of the area that saw the opening of the Imperial War Museum North in 2002 and Media City, which began construction in 2007 and to where ITV Studios and the BBC moved their northern headquarters in the early 2010s.

According to the report, The Lowry supports a total of 576 FTE jobs in the North West and 649 across the UK, supporting £43.8 million in GVA per annum in the North West and £47.7 million across the UK. It calculates that this represents a return on investment of £32.91 for each £1 of public funding in 2022–23, which has risen from £16.27 in 2013.

As the most visited attraction in Greater Manchester, in 2022–23, almost 860,000 people visited The Lowry, spending around £86.6 million during their stay. Over the same period, 22,000 people participated in more than 3,200 sessions across all of The Lowry’s learning and engagement programmes, totalling over 6,000 hours and delivering a social value estimated by the report to be equivalent to £22.4 million.

Julia Fawcett, CEO of The Lowry, said, “before The Lowry, the Salford Quays had been empty and derelict for close to two decades. The revitalisation of the area in the 25 years that followed has been nothing short of miraculous. Today it pulses with life; a vibrant place where culture and creativity and people and business come together.

"The Quays continues to grow and evolve, but The Lowry is still the anchor. Created to be the cultural hub around which a community was built, it is evidence not just of the rejuvenating power of art and culture, but the role it plays in shaping society and enriching our lives.

"The Lowry serves as a lesson in the economic power of arts and culture and the importance of taking the long view, signalling to those reducing arts investment that these short-term savings will cost us all in the long-term.”

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