Vital Sparks to support seven new community arts projects


Seven Plymouth-based community arts projects have been given the go-ahead this week thanks to funding support from Vital Sparks.

Vital Sparks is a Plymouth Culture project led by Plymouth City Council and funded by Arts Council England. The scheme awards bursaries of £500 to £5,000 to community, youth and residents groups and is designed to inspire arts, culture and creativity in local neighbourhoods.

The successful applicants include young people in Ernesettle, residents from Devonport and the local Jewish community. This new funding round takes the total number of Vital Sparks projects funded so far to 29.

Bursaries awarded in the fifth round of Vital Sparks funding are:

Devonport – £4,100
A group of residents from Devonport have been awarded a bursary to run a yarn storming master class and a series of Etsy and crafting workshops. These new skills will be used in a special celebration day which will include a yarn storm of George Street, craft activities, music and the creation of a community artwork which will map all the buildings in the ward and be coloured in by local residents.

Beyond Face – £3,070
Beyond Face is a theatre company that supports young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. £3,070 has been granted to this new company to develop a musical and give its young members an opportunity to act, sing and dance.

Jewish Cemetery – £2,863
Plymouth’s historic 275-year old Jewish cemetery has received a bursary to research and produce a series of audio soundscapes. The Synagogue and Friends of the Cemetery group will work in partnership with a sound designer to make the soundscapes which will be people can listen to on MP3 players as they wander through the grounds.

Ernesettle – £1,500
Five young people from the Space Shot youth group in Ernesettle who will use their £1,500 bursary to run a music festival this September. This is the first project of its kind in the ward where young people will be involved in programming, booking and marketing a brand new music event.

North Plymouth Youth Project – £1,000
North Prospect Youth Project’s bursary will go towards a memorial bench to commemorate William ‘Big Will’ Richards, a much loved young resident from Southway who took his own life in May 2015.

Open Doors International School – £1,000
Language students at Open Doors International School have been granted £1,000 to run illustration workshops for its ‘Mayflower Returns – Journeys to Plymouth’ project. The workshops will be used to produce artwork to accompany a collection of creative writing produced by the students exploring how they came to live in Plymouth. The work will be turned into an exhibition, e-book and drama script.

The final grant is a new addition to the Vital Sparks funding portfolio and is a History Centre bursary awarded to an outstanding creative community project with a strong focus on heritage:

Joyce’s Quilt – £5,000
Joyce’s Quilt will bring women from across the city together to remember and celebrate other females – from sisters, mothers and friends to famous figures. The women will help create a bespoke community quilt that celebrates the women who are important to them.

Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “Arts and culture improve people’s quality of life and help to bring them together so Vital Sparks is doing a brilliant job of helping to make a difference in local communities.”

Plymouth Culture Executive Director Dom Jinks added: “It’s great to grow the Vital Sparks family again with more new projects. We’re also seeing an increase in applications many of which are high quality and are coming from communities that haven’t applied before. Both these things show a growing confidence in Plymouth’s cultural sector at a grassroots level which is exactly what Vital Sparks is aiming for.”

The sixth round of Vital Sparks funding is now open. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2016.

For more information and to apply online see our Vital Sparks page.