Seven Plymouth projects are celebrating success after being awarded ‘High Street Sparks’ grants from the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative.
Funded by Historic England, the HSHAZ is working with partners across the UK to unlock the potential of more than 60 historic high streets.
The ‘High Street Sparks’ funding scheme has been set up to gift up to £2,500 (and in exceptional cases £5,000) to community projects that will help breathe life back into Plymouth’s city centre. The funding focuses on projects that put the spotlight on a specially designated conservation area around Royal Parade and the Civic Square and respond to its heritage.
Fabulous selfie walls will appear on our high street over the next 12 months providing unique backdrops for holiday snaps and for sharing on Instagram. The images will be selected as part of a competition run by Established By Her and Women in Photography Devon & Cornwall. This was deemed an exceptional public art project and will receive £5,000.
The Barbican Theatre has been gifted £4,524 to fund some spectacular events in the heart of the city centre. A ‘Play it Loud Stage’ on the Piazza will host the best of Plymouth’s talent from flamenco dancers to spoken word artists. ‘Civic in its Prime’ will provide an exciting platform for BMX riders, skaters, scooters and parkourists to play and compete.
£2,498 has been awarded to storyteller Katy Cawkwell to produce three performances, including Resurgam: Plymouth in the Blitz and The Story of Shackleton. The shows will be presented on the high street in the summer of 2022.
Plymouth-based creative Joe Meldrum will receive £2,460 to produce a map of the best of the city’s post-war buildings. Featuring beautiful illustrations, the map will be of use to tourists and residents alike.
The Mindful Art Club has secured a grant of £2,430 to run a community arts project based at Moment’s Café. Workshops will explore the heritage of the city centre’s conservation area and will be free to anyone who is struggling with their mental health.
The Synagogue, in partnership with David Prescott, will present a window display dedicated to the painter Solomon Hart. Hart was a third generation migrant son of Plymouth who became the first Jewish member of the Royal Academy of Arts. £2,423 will fund the display near to where his most historic work, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey first hung.
Plymouth Artists Together will curate a constantly evolving Resurgam community art gallery. This vibrant and inspirational project has been granted £1,200.
Councillor Mark Deacon, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport said: “From photography to performance and spoken word to skateboarding – this is a fantastic group of projects. Plymothians were asked to apply for grants if they felt they could help ‘put the happy back into our high street’ and, as always, they were full of interesting and fresh ideas to make our city centre a more vibrant environment for everyone. Congratulations to all the individuals and groups involved. I can’t wait to see the projects come to fruition throughout 2022.”
Simon Hickman from Historic England said: “Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme is all about breathing new life into old places, and that’s certainly what’s happening through these exciting projects in Plymouth. They’ll help to tell the story of the city and the people that live here.”
Steve Hughes, chief executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “We can’t wait to see these projects evolve and, after the impact of COVID on our businesses, this is just what our city centre needs to enliven our spaces and attract more visitors.”
Applications for the next round of ‘High Street Sparks’ funding will open in the New Year. To find out more go to www.theboxplymouth.com – click on ‘Visit’, ‘Outside The Box’ and then ‘High Street Sparks’.
‘High Street Sparks’ and Plymouth’s High Street Action Zone project is managed by The Box, Plymouth Octopus Project and Plymouth City Council.
23 November 2021