Medway and Swale community consortium successful in Arts Council grant bid

Arts Council England have announced that a community consortium from Medway and Swale has been successful in applying for a commissioned grant from its Creative People and Places programme – designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision.

The Creative People and Places programme focuses on parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average. The Swale and Medway consortium are one of seven successful applications across England, receiving £1,476,000 from a pot of just under £16 million over three years.

The programme will support communities and grass roots organisations to play a leading role in inspiring others to become involved with the arts and employing innovative ideas for reaching new audiences.

The Swale and Medway consortium comprises: Swale Council for Voluntary Service and Volunteer Centre; Medway Council for Voluntary Service; Artlands North Kent; LV21; Kent Architecture Centre; Creek Creative Studios; FrancisKnight and Rochester based FellowCreative. The consortium will showcase and test new arts activities, support local people to develop their own creative ideas, help strengthen existing arts provision and celebrate what’s great about the arts.

Three local authorities (Medway, Swale and Kent) will work with the consortium to develop the project, which will be working with locally based arts and cultural partners including: Royal Opera House Bridge Organisation, South East Dance, and Kent County Council Libraries and Archives.

Carl Jeffrey, founder of FellowCreative, says: “We are thrilled to have the support of Arts Council England. This substantial investment will make a real difference to the communities of Swale and Medway. The long-term aim of our Creative People and Places vision is to enable a spirit of creative experimentation and the art of doing, together. Initiated by an ever-developing network of small-scale, grass roots individuals and organisations, we hope that Swale and Medway become widely recognised as places where all forms of creativity can thrive; where communities directly benefit from the power of the arts to make positive changes in people’s lives; where new routes for engagement are opened up through testing out pioneering and experimental approaches.”

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England, says: “We have a long history of working with artists and arts organisations in North Kent and we know that there is a real desire among people locally to get more involved in the arts and culture. We’re looking forward to seeing what ideas the community come up with to encourage more people to feel the benefit that taking part in the arts and culture can bring.”

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “I’m excited by the possibilities of this programme and by the vision of the successful applicants. All the projects have the potential to make a visible and lasting impact on the places where the work will happen and, very importantly, they all share the ambition to unite increased access with excellent art. We’re looking forward to working with them to help them develop their ideas for creating and sharing great art for everyone – which is crucial to the vitality and long-term sustainability of the arts.”

The projects will be delivered by consortia and partners which include arts organisations, museums, libraries, local authorities and commercial organisations working in collaboration with the local community, grass roots organisations and the amateur sector.

The successful applicants will now receive a small percentage of their award in order to develop their plans. Receipt of the full award is dependent on the Arts Council approving each consortium’s full business plan. Round two of the programme will open to applications in September 2012.

The Creative People and Places programme is one of a number of initiatives designed to help the Arts Council achieve its goal of more people experiencing and being inspired by the arts – as set out in Achieving great art for everyone, the Arts Council’s ten year strategic plan.

To contact the consortium or to register your interest in the Swale and Medway project, please go to: http://CreativePeoplePlace.info, or email contact@CreativePeoplePlace.info

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