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Arts Council England today (9 August 2012) announced that a community consortium from Swale and Medway has been successful in applying for a commissioned grant from its Creative people and places programme – designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision.

Please do register your interest by visiting: http://CreativePeoplePlace.info

Swale and Medway is one of seven successful consortium applications across England that have been awarded a total of just under £16 million over three years, with Swale and Medway receiving £1,476,000.

The Creative people and places programme focuses on parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average*.

Creative people and places takes a new approach by supporting communities and grass roots organisations to play a leading part in inspiring others to get involved with the arts.

The projects all employ innovative ideas for reaching new audiences. The Swale and Medway consortium comprises Swale Council for Voluntary Service and Volunteer Centre; Medway Council for Voluntary Service; Artlands North Kent; LV21; Kent Architecture Centre; Creek Creative Studios; FrancisKnight – project managers for Leysdown Rose-tinted ; and FellowCreative. The consortium will showcase and test new arts activities, support local people to develop their own creative ideas, help strengthen existing arts provision and celebrate what’s great about the arts. Three local authorities (Medway, Swale and Kent) will work with the consortium to develop the project. The consortium will be working with locally based arts and cultural partners to do this, including: Royal Opera House Bridge Organisation, South East Dance, and Kent County Council Libraries and Archives.

Carl Jeffrey, Founder of FellowCreative and a member of the Swale and Medway consortium, says: ‘We are thrilled to have the support of Arts Council England. This substantial investment will make a real difference to the communities of Swale and Medway. The long-term aim of our Creative People and Places vision is to enable a spirit of creative experimentation and the art of doing, together.

‘Initiated by an ever-developing network of small-scale, grass roots individuals and organisations, we hope that Swale and Medway become widely recognised as places where all forms of creativity can thrive; where communities directly benefit from the power of the arts to make positive changes in people’s lives; where new routes for engagement are opened up through testing out pioneering and experimental approaches.’

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England, says: ‘We have a long history of working with artists and arts organisations in North Kent and we know that there is a real desire among people locally to get more involved in the arts and culture. We’re looking forward to seeing what ideas the community come up with to encourage more people to feel the benefit that taking part in the arts and culture can bring.’

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: ‘I’m excited by the possibilities of this programme and by the vision of the successful applicants.

‘All the projects have the potential to make a visible and lasting impact on the places where the work will happen and, very importantly, they all share the ambition to unite increased access with excellent art.

‘We’re looking forward to working with them to help them develop their ideas for creating and sharing great art for everyone – which is crucial to the vitality and long-term sustainability of the arts.’

The projects will be delivered by consortia and partners which include arts organisations, museums, libraries, local authorities and commercial organisations working in collaboration with the local community, grass roots organisations and the amateur sector.

The successful applicants will now receive a small percentage of their award in order to develop their plans. Receipt of the full award is dependent on the Arts Council approving each consortium’s full business plan. Round two of the programme will open to applications in September 2012.

The Creative people and places programme is one of a number of initiatives designed to help the Arts Council achieve its goal of more people experiencing and being inspired by the arts – as set out in Achieving great art for everyone, the Arts Council’s ten year strategic plan.

To contact the Consortium or to register your interest in the Swale and Medway project, please go to: http://CreativePeoplePlace.info