14 communities set to transform their areas using creativity, thanks to new funding

Fourteen communities across England are set to transform their local areas as part of the £4million new Creative Civic Change programme, launching from today (13th May). Over the next three years, these communities will take the lead and use creativity to generate meaningful civic change in their area.

With funding of up to £200,000 for each community, as well as a substantial programme of support including advice and mentoring, Creative Civic Change will help every area make social, economic or environmental changes that matter to them locally. Whatever the local priorities, from addressing loneliness and isolation to bringing together disengaged young people, this programme will help communities to thrive by responding in creative ways.

14 communities set to transform their areas using creativity, thanks to new fundingLocal people in the 14 areas across England – from Grimsby to Plymouth and Liverpool to London – will this week launch their projects, with local residents taking control and using their strong appetite for creativity to achieve their vision for their area.

Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Local Trust, the initiative is a shared desire to create a deeper knowledge and understanding of what community-led cultural activity looks like in action. Communities already using the arts and creativity to address the social need in their local area were selected to take part in the programme.

Two of the projects to receive funding and being launched this week are Nudge Community Builders, based in Stonehouse, Plymouth, and Remake, based in Grimsby.

14 communities set to transform their areas using creativity, thanks to new fundingNudge Community Builders will use their grant to run pop-up activities, music and workshops. They want to transform neglected public spaces, by giving them “a little nudge”, and plan to encourage local businesses and artists to collaborate on how to tackle issues such as rubbish and anti-social behaviour. To celebrate their launch they are taking over two empty buildings to showcase local artwork and have after-school activities for residents in Stonehouse to enjoy.

REMAKe, will use their grant to run four big celebratory events that will showcase local artists, crafters and makers. The group will build local networks through taster courses and creative visits focusing on arts and crafts, performing arts, words and multimedia. They will celebrate their launch with a parade of singing and dancing, followed by a ‘village fete’ area specially constructed in the market, and culminating in a festival event.

The Creative Civic Change programme will not only support people and communities to shape the places they live through creative methods but will also explore how long term, resident-led, place-based arts funding can enable communities to grow and develop at their own speed without imposing strict reporting or targets.

It will also give communities and arts and cultural organisations an opportunity to work in partnership, and help arts and community sectors, particularly funders in these sectors, to learn from a grass-roots approach to community arts projects.

Sarah Benioff, Director of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“People are at the heart of what we do and we believe it is important for them to get involved, have their say and make the changes they want to see. It’s thanks to National Lottery players and this partnership, the Creative Civic Change programme is building stronger networks within communities, whilst bringing them together to tackle issues that are not only affecting them individually but collectively as a whole.”

Billy Dasein, REMAKe (Revolutionary East Marsh Arts Kollective), said: 

“The great thing about Creative Civic Change is that it’s not bureaucratic and it’s not about targets, tick-boxes, or outcomes. It’s very human and understands that all humans have it in them to be creative. We’re there to create a climate where people feel love and trust within which to work, and fail, and try again. People can become something that they never knew they could.”

Creative Civic Change is being launched in response to the Inquiry into the Civic Role of the Arts Organisations with the aims of exploring a new approach to funding community-driven projects and share experience and learning to inspire others to use the arts and creativity to make a positive local change.

The organisations backing it share the belief that creativity can be harnessed to engage, inspire and mobilise communities, and showcase the difference individuals can make as they develop collectively as a whole.