Coming soon: bringing arts and culture to our high street

Poole is set to benefit from an £80,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Poole High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ). The grant will be used to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

BCP Council’s HSHAZ in Poole is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their Cultural Programme. The Cultural Programme is led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Poole’s Cultural Programme will focus on sharing the stories of Poole and the trade links with Newfoundland, Canada. These links were an important part of Poole’s maritime heritage that helped shape the High Street. The three-year programme will explore the heritage and history of Poole High Street with Local communities having opportunities to share stories and celebrate what makes Poole the vibrant town it is today.

A variety of exciting events and installations are being planned including the creation of a Community Suite of Music, a Public Art Project, production of a Community Play and an Audio Trail. All this will be made possible by the energetic collaboration of the cultural consortium partners, Lighthouse, Poole Museum and Soundstorm Music Education Agency working together with CoCreate, Arts2Educate, and Angel Exit Theatre.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said: “The high street Cultural Programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, BCP Council Portfolio holder for Culture said:
The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive and engaging places for people to live, work and spend time. We’re delighted that Poole has been awarded this funding. The impact of this scheme will provide benefits to enliven the town, for residents and visitors, that will last beyond the timespan of the project.”

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage MP said:
“High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy. These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer.”

Poole is also benefiting from a cultural commission. Artist Freya Gabie will be working with local people on All Fired Up! – a ceramics based project. Her artist residency in Poole will run 6-17 September, with ceramics workshops exploring the towns’ deep connection to the ceramics industry. Gabie will create a work which will respond to the stories she gathers. Each workshop participant will also make a ceramic artwork to go on display.

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