The Cultural Spring given £1m to continue its work for three more years

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

The project has been increasing the number of people taking part in arts and culture activities in Sunderland and South Tyneside since 2014. The project’s seasonal workshops, large-scale performances and support for community-based arts projects are funded through Arts Council England’s (ACE) Creative People and Places programme.

For its next three-year programme, The Cultural Spring will work solely in Sunderland. An ACE survey of arts engagement in South Tyneside revealed the number of people taking part in arts activity had risen to a point where the borough was no longer eligible for CPP funding. It means South Tyneside is set to qualify for different funding streams after being announced as a priority funding area by Arts Council.

In 2014, The Cultural Spring was given an initial £2m for its first three years and then successfully bid for £1m to deliver its second three-year programme in 2016. A third phase, backed by £500,000 of CPP funding, started in April 2020, but only two years into that progrmme, CPP has decided to extend The Cultural Spring yet further with a £1m investment.

The new Sunderland programme will begin in April 2022.

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 be continue with our seasonal workshop programmes – online and in Wearside venues; with our Your Art Community Commissions, and with 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.

“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.”

The Cultural Spring’s five partners were the University of Sunderland; The Customs House, South Shields, Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust, Sangini, a women’s health organisation and The Cultural Spring Charity. Young Asian Voices have been confirmed as a consortium partner 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.”

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

Speaking about the investment, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Everyone, no matter where they are from, should be able to experience arts and culture. The fantastic Creative People and Place projects help make culture more accessible and strengthen bonds in local communities. I’m delighted that this £38.3 million funding will make sure more people across the whole of England have access to brilliant cultural and creative activities on their doorsteps.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, added: “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.”