Background to Sea Change

Investment in cultural projects can radically enhance the regeneration of historic seaside resorts.

Many seaside resorts have experienced declining economic circumstances as a result of changes in tourism and issues relating to housing and transport. We believe that public investment in cultural projects and public spaces can give a huge kick start to local regeneration.

Sea Change ensures that investment in cultural projects complements and enhances wider regeneration programmes. Culture is important to all places, but Sea Change targets seaside resorts to help them:

  • improve the quality of life for residents
  • attract new and more visitors
  • restructure the economy.

Recognising the impact of climate change on patterns of behaviour, Sea Change also offers new opportunities to enhance the visitor experience, encouraging greater numbers of people to spend holidays and short breaks at England’s seaside resorts.

Sea Change is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


Sea Change has been evaluated by BOP Consulting. The following information is taken from BOP's interim evaluation report in April 2010. The final evaluation report will be available in February 2011.

Successful Sea Change projects tend to have these characteristics:

  • are place-specific – they take a cultural approach that fits with local heritage and location
  • are distinctive – providing a cultural response to the specific issues facing the resort
  • link with local resources and fit within existing local cultural infrastructure – and consider local community needs rather than focusing solely on the visitor economy
  • invest in a high quality cultural product
  • fit with local strategies.

Facts about Sea Change

  • There was high demand for Sea Change grants and interest from a wide range of localities. In Wave one open approximately 50% of applications were supported. 24 applications were received, 6 grants, 6 feasibility studies and one development study were funded. In Wave three open, approximately 11% were supported. 33 applications were received and 3 funded.
  • New ideas and partnerships have been created. Projects off the shelf were relatively rare. (source: BOP Consulting's Sea Change project managers' survey)
  • Works have been carried out to a high standard and completed largely on time and by the local partners. (source: BOP Consulting's Sea Change project managers' survey)
  • 70% of Sea Change projects are part of longer term regeneration plans at the site. Sea Change did not fund one-off stand alone projects.
  • An estimated 852 full-time jobs will be created.