What are the Cultural Spring and the Creative People Places projects?

The Cultural Spring is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery. Creative People and Places are about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts.

Creative People and Places projects have reached over 1.45 million people, 91% of who do not regularly engage in the arts. Our aim is to leave a lasting legacy in communities by creating a genuine and life-long involvement in the arts. We work with the best local, regional and national artists to ensure our programme really engages, entertains and educates the people living in our wards. The projects work with a diverse range of partners including charities, voluntary networks, housing associations, working men’s clubs, local businesses, charities and schools.

Where does the Cultural Spring work?

Since 2014 we have been working across 10 areas across South Tyneside and Sunderland. In our third phase, from 2020-2023, we will be working in the following six wards:

South Tyneside

  • Hebburn North
  • Hebburn South
  • Primrose


  • Ryhope
  • Doxford
  • Silksworth

What are our aims?

We have four key aims for our project:

1. Increase participation in arts and culture within our communities

2. Enable more excellent art to happen in our communities

3. Help communities to set up and run sustainable events and workshops independently from us.

4. Reflect and share learning

What do we do?

Workshop programme

  • Our workshop programme has a variety of artists who engage with local residents in creative activities, this could be ceramics classes, Guitar and Ukulele, singing, dancing or theatre workshop. We tend to run these workshop programmes three times a year. There is a small voluntary contribution to pay. We aim to make these classes as accessible as we can and use local venues that communities are familiar with.

Research and Development opportunities

  •  We want to encourage and support new innovative commissions from artists and arts organisations that have community engagement as a core part of their idea. We offer small grants of up to £5,000. This is an open call and we would advertise these opportunities through our newsletter and website.

Community Boost

  • Our ambition for this part of our programme is to make an equal amount of funding available across Sunderland and South Tyneside to support existing events. This community boost is to encourage harder-to-reach people to get involved in yearly festivals and events and encourage them to take part in new experiences.

Your Art

  • Your Art enables us to support community projects to develop and be sustained by providing funding of between £400 and £1,000 to community groups to try out and develop their own arts ideas and to support people to shape, lead and programme arts events that they want in their communities. To date we have supported 58 Your Art projects, supporting groups to work with artists, recruit new members and visits to arts experiences.

Go and See

  • Our Go and See programme aims to ensure people living in our ten wards gets the chance to experience the best arts and cultural events happening across the North East and beyond. We regularly advertise these reduced or subsidised tickets or trips in our newsletter which you can sign up to here.

How can I get involved?

You can get involved in many different ways to suit you.

  • Sign up to our newsletter which we send out once a month
  • Follow what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Visit our website for regular updates
  • Become one of our growing networks of Community Champions, helping us promote what we do in your community. Find out more about becoming a champion here