Introduce your Great Place Scheme project

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Please tell the community about your project. Here's a suggested format - it's only a guide though.

  • Your project name and lead partner
  • Your project partners
  • Your 'place' and its distinguishing features
  • What you are trying to achieve with your project
  • The main strands of activity you'll be doing
  • How far along you are

Don't forget to add information to your own account too so members can see your biography and follow your discussions.

View Oluwaseun Soyemi's profile Oluwaseun Soyemi Apr 10 2018 - 10:01am
  1. Hi Everyone,

    Delighted to have this forum, many thanks to Seun and the HLF team for setting this up.

    I've hopefully met most Great Place England projects by now, but just in case:

    - BOP Consulting ( are the Programme Evaluators for Great Place England

    - I'm the lead contact for the team at BOP; my email is

    - our evaluation builds on your project level evaluations to explore how the Great Place programme has worked overall to achieve its aims of re-positioning culture in local decision-making and improving social, economic and cultural outcomes for each Great Place

    Look forward to keeping in touch with how your projects are developing!

  2. View Rebekah Polding's profile Rebekah Polding
    Offline | Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
  3. Reading, Place of Culture

    Reading Borough Council, Reading UK CIC and Reading University are jointly delivering ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ in order to put culture at the heart of planning for the future of the town. This programme aims to enhance Reading’s cultural offer, help drive economic growth and improve quality of life for people in Reading. This 3 year ‘Great Place Scheme’ is funded by a new and innovative collaboration between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England and Reading is one of only 16 places in England selected to participate.  The aim is to make Reading a better place to live, work and visit, with a culture of collaboration across sectors, where caring for and engaging people is achieved in partnership between the public, private and voluntary sector.  

    Reading, Place of Culture will enable arts, cultural and heritage organisations to make a step-change in how they work together, and with organisations in other sectors, so that they can collaboratively contribute to meeting local social and economic objectives.  In this regard, Reading as a place of “culture” is shorthand for the whole indivisible gamut of arts, culture and heritage, all intimately connected and related. 

    Reading, Place of Culture builds on Reading’s 'Place-shaping' 2050 Vision, in which culture plays a pivotal role.  It embraces Reading’s multi-cultural demographic, its economic and business strengths and its rich history.  It is also fully aligned with Reading’s aspirational Culture and Heritage Strategy (developed through its Cultural Partnership).

    Current cultural provision is accessed by many Reading residents, providing a range of health, educational and wellbeing benefits, as well as enriching lives. There is a need to ensure that the accessibility and quality of provision is enhanced, including ensuring that the needs of those who face barriers to access are addressed.  Whilst generally prosperous, Reading is a place of marked extremes. There are pockets of deprivation, where patterns of inequality are complex and can lead to poor life outcomes. Culture has a role to play in addressing this and can do so in a multitude of ways, from community cohesion, to reduced social isolation, to improved employability and work place skills.  The cultural and community sectors are already delivering some quality programmes, however, there is a need for greater partnership working and for a more robust articulation, monitoring and evaluation of outcomes. It is also essential that local communities are consulted and at the heart of decision making and the shaping of cultural offers.

    Reading, Place of Culture has a focus on strategic partnership building across three core strands of work: with businesses; with a wider range of public services; and with local communities. There is also as drive to embed culture and heritage into economic development and business strategies. This will demonstrate the positive effects of culture in creating an environment that attracts and retains high skilled millennials and next generation z in the local workforce.


    Year 1 of Reading, Place of Culture, is being delivered across three core strands:

    • Cultural Commissioning outreach programme for targeted communities - upskilling the cultural and community sectors to work together for social outcomes.

    A new Cultural Commissioning programme will fund 3 programmes for £15,000 each. The successful projects will work in cross-sector partnerships to engage marginalised or hard-to-reach communities in arts, culture and/or heritage programmes for social outcomes; health and wellbeing, educational attainment and skills development, social cohesion.

    Fit for purpose evaluation and monitoring tools will be developed to start evidencing the value of culture in delivering social outcomes. An end of year conference will share learning and encourage wider sector participation.

    Other activities include the formation of a community steering group, community consultations and workshops, a commissioning preparation workshop and networking events.

    • Reading – on –Thames Festival- celebrating Reading’s unique identity and providing a platform of excellence for residents and visitors

    Reading on Thames festival takes place between the 7 – 16 September presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, design, literature, moving image, visual arts and popular culture. The festival will present an engaging, participatory, multi-sensory adventure for explorers of all ages. The programme will respond to the Reading’s unique environment and culture and will bring together the rich tapestry of arts organisations, venues and outdoor sites across Reading to create exhilarating audience experiences and unexpected encounters, illuminating Reading as a city of parks and rivers and of culture and diversity.

    • Research and evaluation- developing best practice geared to the needs of Reading people

    The University of Reading is co-producing a community-led research and evaluation programme with the Whitley Researchers to ensure that the needs of Reading’s diverse communities are central to Reading, Place of culture.  The Whitley Researchers are a participatory action research partnership between the Whitley Community Development Association, local residents and the University of Reading to engage and involve communities in conducting their own research.   The team are piloting innovative ways of exploring local resident’s lived experiences of culture and heritage as well as understanding their views on health and wellbeing to inform the cultural commissioning/festival programmes and evaluation frameworks.

     A ‘Young Researchers’ team is also being developed at John Madejski Academy and other local schools. They will be creating visual methods and interactive community events to explore young people’s ideas around art, heritage and place. 

    Community research is also an exercise in partnership and participation and the Whitley Researchers are working to enhance the sharing of knowledge and best practice across and beyond local communities, project partners and cultural/arts organisations in Reading.


  4. View Lara Stavrinou's profile Lara Stavrinou
    Offline | Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
  5. I wrote an intro a few weeks ago but sadly lost it because I hadn’t realised the page times out. I’ve finally been able to bring myself to try again. Unfortunately I don’t think this one’s as good, but here goes.


    We’re Great Place: Lakes and Dales (formerly known as Crossing the Watersheds)

    We’re a new partnership of 4 local authorities; Craven District Council (lead), South Lakeland District Council, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Lake District National Park Authority.

    We’re currently working with a handful of cultural producers in the area too who form our Creative Board; The Brewery Arts Centre, Grassington Festival, The Wordsworth Trust, Chrysalis Arts and Lakeland Arts.

    Our Great Place covers Craven and South Lakeland districts, crossing local authority, national park and county borders. It encompasses the corridor between Skipton in North Yorkshire and Grasmere in Cumbria. Skipton and Kendal are the main hubs of activity.

    Our Great Place attracts millions of visitors each year who come to explore and enjoy the wonderful natural environment. The Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks each have their own unique heritage and characters which have inspired countless artists, song writers and creative writers for generations.

    We want our Great Place to continue its story and inspire the next generation just as much as the last, with a thriving economy and vibrant community. Our aim is to make sure this can happen by increasing the number of younger people choosing to live and work in the area. Our districts need to increase the number of 16 – 34 year olds who live here by 44% to be at the national average, so we’ll be working to make our Great Place a more attractive, accessible, affordable place for young people to live as well as visit.

    We’ve got 6 main strands of activity which will lay the foundations and create the right environment for us to work towards this….

    1. Research – to identify the distinctiveness of the area and understand the needs and aspirations of 16-34 year olds which will inform actions to attract younger people and families to live and work in the area
    2. Strategic – embedding arts, culture and heritage in a range of strategies to improve social and economic prosperity
    3. Creative Economy – diversify, retain, support and attract cultural producers
    4. Business Relations – strengthen relationships between cultural organisations and businesses to make the most of creativity and distinctiveness to improve their competitive advantage
    5. Digital Growth – grow the rural economy and cultural offer by taking advantage of opportunities through digital technology
    6. Learning – share learning from our work with stakeholders, other rural councils and regions across the UK to inform future work

    Since launching in September 2017, we’ve recruited a Programme Manager (Lindsey Hebden) and Programme Support Officer (Manon Keir). We’ve developed a partnership agreement between the 4 funding authroties and have quarterly meeting with the Consortium of Partners and Creative Board.

    We’ve commissioned The Audience Agency who will be working in collaboration with MB Associates and The Beatfreeks Collective to complete research into what the current audience for arts, culture and heritage looks like in the area, how these things can support placemaking and well-being and how current local policies affect the creative industry. They’ll also be identifying the attitudes and aspirations of the local younger generation and those who could potentially move to the area; the existing strengths and weaknesses of the Great Place from the perspective of the younger generation; the barriers and enablers for engaging with and delivering arts and culture; how we grow the cultural economy with this audience and which trends and communication channels to use to reach them. Their approach involves younger people conducting the research themselves with support from their team. We’ll have initial findings in July, with the final report presented in Autumn 2018.

    We’re in the process of recruiting 4 animateurs/delivery consultants who will lead on 4 of the activity strands.

    • Placemaking – we’re working with RIBA to organise an architects’ competition which will be launched before the end of the year. This competition will produce a design for innovative affordable live-work spaces which will be put in place in 2 locations within the Great Place area post-March 2020. The consultant will take this on once in post. We’re also working with Wayne Hemingway and Hemingway Design to work towards having a placemaking festival of some description in Autumn 2019. We’ve got two scoping/consultation events in Skipton and Kendal in June which will begin the process of the local communities leading on the development of the event, so at this stage who knows what form it might take! We’re arranging a ‘Planning Lunch’ for planning and economic development teams from all 4 authorities for Oct 2018, to help establish close relationships between these teams in each authority for the first time.
    • Creative Economy – the consultant will work with existing cultural events, festivals and venues to diversify their offer to ensure that they’ve got more on offer that might attract younger audiences. They’ll facilitate new collaborations and develop marketing of these new events and activities to attract these new audiences. They’ll produce legacy documents that will share their learning from these trials. We’re working with Grassington Festival to enhance their offer and also make this year’s festival more accessible to younger audiences by subsidising the festival bus from Skipton for younger people. We’ll be working with other cultural producers right through the programme. So far we’re in discussions with The Brewery Arts Centre, Lakes Alive, Kendal Mountain Festival and Sedbergh. We’re also recruiting Creative Champions who will become the face of our Great Place. These are younger people who live in the area and love it and want to promote their lifestyle and/or business. We’re having networking events for them all this summer.
    • Business Relations – The consultant will work with local businesses to develop new opportunities for graduates within their company. They’ll promote the benefits of supporting culture and having creative individuals in your team, no matter which sector you work in. They’ll run Creative Careers Fairs for 15 – 19 year olds so that students and teachers get to meet with people working in the creative industry and discuss the variety of opportunities in the creative industries in a rural area. Discussions and pilots will be set up with city-based businesses to explore alternative working solutions such as remote working for their employees.
    • Digital Growth – the consultant will work with cultural events and venues to enhance their offer and attract new younger audiences by using digital technology. In consultation with young local people and creative business they’ll make the case for improved digital infrastructure in the area. They’ll develop digital content which will contribute to marketing the area, working closely with the Creative Champions. They’ll also work with retail and catering establishments to improve convenience for customers.

    We’ve attended numerous events including Remix Summit, Cultural Transformations (Hull 2017), YMS18, Planning: a participatory arts? (Northern Heartlands) and the first Creative Cities Convention. We’ve been able to share information and learning from these events with the Creative Board and other stakeholders. We’re arranging a ‘One Year On’ event for Oct 2018. At this event the results from the research commission will be presented, we’ll launch the architects’ competition and a seed-funding scheme. We’ll invite all stakeholders and partners as well as the other Great Place projects from across the UK.

    We’ve established a presence on social media, mostly on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us to keep up-to-date with what we’re up to @GP_LakesDales

    That’s it for now I think.



    • Great Place: Lakes and Dales Logo
  6. View Manon Keir's profile Manon Keir
    Offline | Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
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