On a sunny Sunday in July John (Director) and Fiona (Projects and Partnerships Officer)attended The Big Gather at Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire. This event was about showcasing the achievements of 200 projects supported by the LEADER European funding programme in Central Warwickshire. Over the last 3 years Live & Local has had a key role in conjunction with Warwickshire County Council Arts Service, in supporting a wide range of arts activities through a project called Arts On Our Doorstep. Live & Local worked with 25 communities, enabling them to access funds for equipment, expertise, performances, and for hands-on arts activities, ranging from a subway facelift, to outdoor theatre, to recording village life on film.
The Big Gather showed off an even wider range of projects from around the county, including food growing and projects linking rural communities with farms and other land-based industries. Over 600 people attended and the event spread out with gazebos and marquees across the lawns. Shakespeare in the gardens, bee-inspired dance, a spontaneous bee-themed flash mob, bee demonstration hives, pony walks, an ongoing embroidery project, candle making and ceramics, apple pressing, fruit pruning, making mosaics and a schools’ farmers market all took place in basking sunshine.
Indoors, Live & Local and County Arts created a display all about the projects delivered through Arts On Our Doorstep. We also set up the professional equipment for our rural cinema project, Big Picture Show, itself a LEADER funded, and now part of our offer to rural communities within Warwickshire. We also screened Tachbrook Times, Living in the Greenbelt, and Families Connect 4 Movement, short films created within local communities and supported by LEADER. They looked and sounded great on our full-scale cinema equipment.
Fiona Henderson, Projects and Partnerships Officer at Live & Local, attended the event and says:
“Live & Local has developed a strand of expertise that is quite unique, using community development and arts administration experience to help local groups access funds for their own arts projects. At The Big Gather, Arts On Our Doorstep projects demonstrated the value of participation and how the arts can aid inclusion and community cohesion.”
We’ve yet to see how LEADER funding will be used in the future. From our experiences with Arts On Our Doorstep we feel well-equipped to consider being involved in this kind of work, perhaps in other parts of the county or further afield.
Here are some pictures for our fabulous Arts On Our Doorstep projects: