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Four new projects join the ‘High Street Sparks’ family

Four new community projects focusing on safety and accessibility have been awarded ‘High Street Sparks’ grants from the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative, which celebrates the unique history of Plymouth’s city centre.

Funded by Historic England, the £95 million HSHAZ programme is working with partners across the UK to unlock the potential of more than 60 high streets.

In Plymouth, the ‘High Street Sparks’ scheme gifts small grants of up to £2,500 (and in exceptional cases £5,000) to community projects that help celebrate and breathe life back into the city centre. The funding focuses on projects that shine a light on a specially designated conservation area around Royal Parade and the Civic Square. Seven projects have already received funding in 2022.

The successful projects from this round of funding are all designed to make our high street feel safer and more accessible.

Steve Hughes, Chief Executive, Plymouth City Centre Company said:

Part of our strategy for the city centre is to make it much more welcoming for everyone. It needs to be a place where people from all communities come to gather and spend time with their families and friends, or take part in activities and hopefully support our businesses at the same time, which is why these projects are so important.

Community Horizons CIO will use its £5,000 grant to develop an art project for black and global majority women living in Plymouth. A large-scale artwork facilitated by female artists will explore the barriers women experience with accessing the high street. The grant includes funding for a female film maker with lived experience of forced displacement to document the making of the project, working with Cine Sisters South West.

‘Queer and There’ is an exceptional project that has also been awarded £5,000Down Stage Write will work with local writers and Snails Ink Collective (a queer zine collective) on a zine project that will gather memories of the conservation area and connect to historic events and venues, all with an emphasis on LGBTQ stories.

Glee Curious is a joint venture between Creative Curiosities SW CIC and Omnium Support Services CIC. They will receive £2,420 to create a series of pop-up street performances called ‘A Potty Potted History of Plymouth’. The Glee Curious members have lived experience of various disabilities and are interested at looking at the city centre’s heritage from a neuro-diverse perspective.

Becca Talemaimaleya has been awarded £2,100 to bring story plays to the city centre this spring. Becca is adapting two children’s books she has written (‘I Can Keep Trying’ and ‘I Can Calm Down’) in partnership with the Above Bounds Theatre Collective. Together they will also use interactive games and activities to work with families with young children to explore topics such as resilience, emotional ‘grit’ and mental health. The trio are pictured above.

Councillor Pat Patel, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Leisure & Sport said:

What a great selection of projects from this round of ‘High Street Sparks’ funding. This is a wonderful scheme that is giving people to chance to explore, interpret and celebrate the city centre in so many different ways. Congratulations to everyone who’s been successful this time. It will be great to see these projects take shape over the coming months.

The final round of ‘High Street Sparks’ funding opens on 24 March 2023 and closes on 31 October 2023. Projects will be sought for 2024, which marks the final year of the High Street Heritage Action Zone Project. Find out more.

‘High Street Sparks’ and Plymouth’s High Street Action Zone project are managed by The Box, Plymouth Octopus Project and Plymouth City Council.

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