LeftCoast is delighted to have secured continued investment from Arts Council England as part of their Creative People and Places scheme. The decision gives LeftCoast a further three years working across both Blackpool and Wyre from October 2016 when the programme was originally due to end.
The investment is a massive vote of confidence in the programme which has, since 2013, delivered a wide variety of projects from meaningful creative experiences in communities to show stopping events and festivals attracting large audiences. Underpinning the programme is a swathe of talent and professional development opportunities for the local arts sector alongside a series of events, talks and innovative art commissioning projects aimed at inspiring and empowering communities to take the lead.
During the past two years LeftCoast has developed partnerships between communities and artists including SpareParts – a first of its kind co-created transport and arts themed festival in conjunction with Fleetwood Festival of Transport. It has also pioneered arts engagement projects on larger housing estates with creative approaches to play, food and growing activity with Blackpool Coastal Housing tenants.
Communities have also been encouraged to take the lead with over twenty small commissioning awards being offered and two large scale commissions taking place with Rossall Beach and Claremont residents. Spectacle and international quality work has been a big part of the programme wowing audiences across the Fylde Coast with Wired Aerial Theatre’s As The World Tipped presented at Blackpool Cricket Club for two special free performances in September of 2014, alongside Colombian circus company Circolombia selling out to audiences as part of the annual Showzam! circus festival.
LeftCoast has also been integral to helping local organisations secure investment for other creative projects. Earlier in the year LeftCoast invested in Blackpool Council’s Illuminations bid to help secure the 2million Coastal Communities Fund for the Lightpool project to creatively rejuvenate the 103 year old lights. Grassroots organisations Must Die Records and Jobs, Friends and Houses have also benefitted from the support of the team, both securing their first Grants for the Arts awards from Arts Council England to create a new experimental music festival and develop photography skills with people in recovery from addiction.
The success allows LeftCoast to further develop its initiatives with communities, with an emphasis on involvement in decision making and empowering them to create and deliver their own projects. LeftCoast will also continue to work with its partners – Blackpool Coastal Housing, Wyre Council, Blackpool Council, Merlin and Blackpool Grand Theatre ? to sustain and increase the arts and cultural offer across Blackpool and Wyre as part of a new cultural vision for the area.