Cockermouth charity Kirkgate Arts and Heritage has won a major 3-year grant from Arts Council England to support its work in small community venues throughout West Cumbria.
Arts Out West, which the charity runs with the help of volunteers at over 20 West Cumbrian village halls, community centres, libraries and schools, has been chosen as one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio organisations, receiving funding under their 2023-2026 Investment Programme.
The grant of £43,040 a year for three years from next April ensures that people in the region will be able to enjoy visits on their doorsteps from professional musicians, theatre groups and other performing artists, as well as participate in a range of artistic activities showcasing and developing their own creative talents.
‘This is great news for West Cumbria,’ said Emma Heys, Kirkgate’s General Manager. ‘Arts Out West has been going for over a decade but it can only happen with public subsidy from the Arts Council.
‘It means that we will be able to continue booking a wide range of shows to take to village halls and community venues up and down West Cumbria, from Millom in the south to Bowness on Solway in the north. It also means that jobs at Kirkgate’s base in Cockermouth will be secured.’
Kirkgate runs Arts Out West in a consortium with Penrith based Highlights Productions. Highlights covers other parts of England’s northern-most counties. Together they form one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio organisations, which include the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Launching the new investments, the Arts Council said: ‘990 organisations will receive a share of £446 million (each year) ensuring that more people in more places can find fantastic, fulfilling art and culture on their doorsteps.’
The grant to Kirkgate Arts for Arts Out West is supplemented by additional funding from Cumbria County Council and Copeland Community Fund.
The communities currently hosting Arts Out West shows and activities are:
|Bowness on Solway|