Three more years for The Cultural Spring

The Cultural Spring has been granted £1m to extend its award-winning work by three more years.

As an artist that has benefited greatly from the project, having been involved since 2015, I’m delighted by this news and couldn’t be happier for the team.

The project has been increasing the number of people taking part in arts and culture activities in Sunderland and South Tyneside since 2014.

Its seasonal workshops, large-scale performances and support for community-based arts projects are funded through Arts Council England’s (ACE) Creative People and Places (CPP) programme.

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Participants at a calligraphy workshop in South Shields, led by Creative Calligraphy for The Cultural Spring.

For its next three-year programme, The Cultural Spring will work solely in Sunderland, having successfully helped raise the number of people taking part in arts activity in South Tyneside to the point that it no longer qualifies for CPP funding.

However, South Tyneside has been named as an ACE Priority Place and will continue to be supported by The Cultural Spring through its new charity arm.

The new Sunderland programme will begin in April 2022.

‘Passionate about increasing arts participation’

Emma Horsman, project director of The Cultural Spring, said: “We’re thrilled to have been given this huge vote of confidence by ACE and look forward to continuing and extending our work in Sunderland.

“We plan to continue with our seasonal workshop programmes – online and in Wearside venues, our Your Art community commissions and our popular Go and See visits, which give local people the opportunity to experience arts and culture outside of their neighbourhoods and communities.

“We also aim to deliver research and development projects with communities that could lead to potential large-scale commissions.”

She added: “For the past seven years, half of our delivery has been in South Tyneside and we’re pleased to see engagement rates in the borough have risen – hopefully we’ve played a part in that increase.

“However, we remain passionate about helping to increase arts participation in South Tyneside yet further. To do so we’ll be working through our newly-established Cultural Spring Charity.

“South Tyneside will also hugely benefit from enhanced investment after being named as a Priority Place by ACE.”

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Angela Reed (bottom left), from Creative Calligraphy, with participants of a calligraphy workshop in Sunderland.

Young Asian Voices join The Cultural Spring

The Cultural Spring’s five partners are currently the University of Sunderland, The Customs House in South Shields, Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust, women’s health organisation Sangini and The Cultural Spring Charity.

Young Asian Voices will join the consortium for the new three-year programme in Sunderland.

Graeme Thompson, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Sunderland and chair of The Cultural Spring steering board, said: “The Cultural Spring has made a real impact on the cultural landscape of Sunderland and South Tyneside, and we’re delighted our work will continue in Sunderland for a further three years.

“We’re also proud that our work in South Tyneside will continue through our charity arm.

“So many individuals and groups have benefited from the events and activities organised by the project team in our previous phases. We’ve successfully engaged with communities but also played an important role in offering opportunities to local artists and performers.”

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Nationally, ACE is investing £38.3m in 39 CPP programmes as part of its CPP national portfolio development.

Darren Henley, chief executive of ACE, said: “These projects change villages, towns and cities for the better, helping people to lead happier, healthier lives. 

“Our new investment means more people in more places across England will benefit from that magical spark of possibility, innovation and invention that only happens when culture and creativity becomes part of their daily lives.”

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