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Being a “priority place” is worth it…

Arts Council England designated North East Lincolnshire as one of 54 priority places for action in 2021.

In choosing its priority places, the Arts Council looked at a number of existing factors, including levels of social and financial deprivation, the amount of engagement with arts and culture and historic data to understand how they could get more people involved with cultural activities and build capacity to deliver these.

Since then, many organisations in the borough have secured significant funding from the Arts Council – more than £408,000 between them – to deliver cultural and creative activities in and around Grimsby.

Coming at the same time as Grimsby Creates delivered more than £2million worth of activities, including business support for people and organisations in the sector through Spark Grimsby, the town has seen a significant change to the cultural and creative landscape, meaning more organisations are able and feel supported to apply for national funding.

North East Lincolnshire Council has secured funding through the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants programme of over £30,000 for the delivery of Festival of the Sea which returns on 15 July this year, and smaller organisations and individuals have also really benefitted from the funding available.

Creating new spaces for arts

In the centre of Grimsby, Turntable Gallery were awarded over £28,500 in National Lottery Project Grant funding, so they are able to create and put on more exhibitions within their studio.

Lincs Inspire Limited are using the Albert Room at Cleethorpes library to show exhibitions and host small events, such as open mic nights, theatre productions and much more.

Docks Academy used an award of £40,000 from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants programme to help make their upstairs venue space more accessible for users. Their venue is used for concerts, workshops, exhibitions and more.

Theatre and Exhibitions

Turntable Gallery are also working with Grimsby Institute, and local Grimbarian playwright and theatre maker, Evangeline Henderson, who was awarded £20,000 in National Lottery Project Grant funding to create a new production “Grimm” which nods to her grandfather’s stories about working at sea.

Meanwhile, local teacher, producer and scriptwriter Benjamin McDonald received a small grant of nearly £5,000 to develop his new theatre piece to help raise awareness of mental health struggles such Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Anxiety.

Events, festivals and live music

Taking place on 15 July 2023, A Perfect Day is a new festival to celebrate those living with learning disabilities as well as general disabilities. It is an accessible interactive festival with disabilities in mind. Find out more at A Perfect Day 2023 – Inclusive Disability Events in Lincolnshire (perfectfestivals.co.uk)  

East Marsh People Power have been working with communities and artists to deliver participatory activities in graffiti art, dance and digital media to contribute to a two-night spectacular involving dancers from the local area and around Europe, showcasing their talent on 21 and 22 July. Free tickets for the night-time spectacular are available at Big Production – (pppgrimsby.co.uk)

The Culture House Ltd secured just under £30,000 from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants programme for their second edition of Our Future Starts Here held in December last year. They explored sustainable futures and began to tell the story of Grimsby’s place in the world now with the installation of Gaia by Luke Jerram as the centrepiece. The programme was showcased to 20,000 audience members across the month of the installation.

East Marsh United (EMU) have used their funding to help develop and create their Grassroots live music project, which includes the Hear me RAW project, named in honour of the late Roy Arthur Wright who worked with young people in Grimsby over many years. Roy passed away four years ago and his widow, Sheila Brown, donated equipment to EMU that made it possible to successfully receive an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant of £29,995 to develop a music programme for young people and the community of the East Marsh over the next two years.

Creative workshops and activities

Our Big Picture Limited used their National Lottery Project Grant funding to deliver workshops and activities in the heart of Grimsby. With additional funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, they were able to acquire the Grade 2 listed building on Bethlehem Street, and they now have their own studio to give North East Lincolnshire communities a chance to explore their heritage and culture.

Red Herring Games received £29,950 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grant programme to deliver a project aimed at nurturing local writers, creating a central hub for existing and “up and coming” talent to be supported in the creative process, enabling them to develop professionally, with expert support, workshops and a final inspiring showcase event.

Cllr Hayden Dawkins, Cabinet member for Culture and the Arts, said: “Over the last few years, the Council has worked with many local organisations and individuals to support them to apply for funding from national bodies, Arts Council England included. This is really about getting the money to grassroots organisations to help them benefit from what’s available.

“As a result, look at the fantastic things that are going on in Grimsby and beyond. Alongside the regeneration of the town, we need to keep building on this to create a place where people want to come and visit and stay, a place that’s vibrant and has lots of things to do.

“It’s thanks to all these organisations and individuals, and of course, Arts Council England, that we’re able to say that – lots of hard work goes on in the background, and we’re grateful that so many people have a vision of Grimsby that’s full of life.”

Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “It is fantastic to see how our investment in North East Lincolnshire is having such a positive impact on the arts and culture sector in the area. Our aim for our priority places is to ensure that communities have access to creativity and culture on their doorstep, and it’s clear to see that this ambition is being fulfilled in North East Lincolnshire.

It’s exciting to see the work that has been created and achieved only within a year of North East Lincolnshire being an Arts Council England Priority Place. I look forward to continuing to build and nurture the relationships we have with the local authorities and the cultural sector across the region to ensure the creativity and culture in the area continues to flourish.”

Alongside the individual grants, more than £500,000 has come into the area through two key developments – the first is The Culture House becoming a National Portfolio Organisation for the first time, as previously reported. Additionally, the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre is working with Humber Museums and able to secure investment into future exhibitions and work.

Many of these grants have been supported by the Creative Match scheme, using UK Shared Prosperity Fund match funding that is available for creative projects across North East Lincolnshire.  To find out more and to make an application see here:  The perfect match for your project | NELC (nelincs.gov.uk).

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