More community groups get Vital Sparks funding

Vital Sparks, a city-wide initiative designed to inspire arts, culture and creativity, has awarded bursaries to five new exciting projects.

This unique Plymouth Culture initiative is led by Plymouth City Council and supported by Arts Council England.

Councillor Peter Smith, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “There are some lovely projects that will get a real boost from this bursary. This project just shows what great ideas people can come up with.”

Today’s awards bring the number of projects Vital Sparks has funded so far to 17. Previous grants have helped create an outdoor theatre extravaganza on the shore at Devil’s Point, a craft programme for carers, a pupil-run arts project and the Whitleigh Word Festival.

The five successful projects that will receive bursaries are:

Seeds ‘N’ Feeds – £4,420 – to turn tired urban spaces into places of colour, beauty and recreation. The funding will bring neighbours together to create and enjoy community gardens in the St Peter & the Waterfront ward. Overgrown planters will have vegetables, fruit trees and flowers chosen by the community and a living willow sculpture will also be created.

LGBT Community – £3,700 – The Plymouth LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Archive shines a light on the rich life and histories of the city’s LGBT communities. The Vital Sparks bursary will enable the archive to be explored by five writers. They will create new pieces of writing for stage and an opportunity to share this part of Plymouth’s history with a wider audience.

Alzheimer’s Society – £3,300 – Three memory cafes in Plymouth will come alive with percussion and improvised storytelling. ‘Sharing Stories’ is a project hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society for people living with dementia. Participants can express themselves creatively without having to rely on failing memories. Led by Nigerian artist, Abimbola Alao, this unique approach to storytelling uses improvisation, drama and reminiscence-based techniques and is especially designed for people who experience memory loss.

One Red Dot – £3,500 – Devonport will host six unique exhibitions over the next 12 months led by community organisation, One Red Dot. ‘Art in the Park’ will be an innovative weather-resistant art show mounted on lamp posts in Devonport Park. It will showcase community art projects and work by artist, Brian Pollard amongst others.

Jon Brown – £350 – A tree stump outside St Budeaux Library is to be transformed, thanks to a bursary from Vital Sparks awarded to resident Jon Brown who will commission a sculptor.

Plymouth Culture Director Dom Jinks added: “It’s really exciting to see communities and local residents starting to take lead on how they want to run creative projects in their own neighbourhoods.

“Building confidence at a grass roots level is exactly what has to happen if more people are going to participate in culture and arts… not just those who can afford it.”

At the heart of Vital Sparks is its funding scheme. Small bursaries from £500 to £5,000 are available to community, youth and residents groups to make a difference in their neighbourhood.

The fourth round of Vital Sparks funding is now open and the deadline for applications is 31 October 2015.

For more information about the current Vital Sparks projects and guidance on how to apply visit