Seven projects awarded funding to celebrate Plymouth’s historic city centre

Seven projects awarded funding to celebrate  Plymouth’s historic city centre

22 November 2021

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.

St Andrews Church in Plymouth's historic city centre

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 Compny, 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. Find out more.

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

About the Plymouth city centre conservation zone

Adopted in 2019, Plymouth’s conservation area is focused on Royal Parade and the Civic Square and bounded by New George Street to the north; Old Town Street and St Andrews Cross to the east; Notte Street to the south and Raleigh Street, Derry’s Cross and Athenaeum Lane to the west.

About High Streets Heritage Action Zones

The High Streets Heritage Action Zones is a £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England, designed to secure lasting improvements and help breathe new life into our historic high streets for the communities and businesses that use them. Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock the rich heritage on these high streets, through repair and improvement works as well as arts and cultural programmes, making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

About Historic England

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. It protects, champions and saves the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. Historic England cares passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists it shares its passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.