Radical new ideas to engage local Havering communities in arts and culture will be explored in a new project lead by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Arts Council England has today (14 August) announced an investment of £1 million for the borough of Havering as part of the Creative People and Places programme.

Havering Changing is a partnership of 8 local organisations that will seek radical new ideas to engage local communities in arts and culture, support local decision makers and share learnings, through the working themes of ‘On Your Doorstep’, ‘In the Know’ and ‘Communities Celebrating’,

The project is being led by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch working with Clarion Futures (the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group), Havering Colleges, Havering Interfaith Forum, Havering Volunteer Centre, Havering Youth Services and myplace, Rainham Association for Village Events (R.A.V.E.), and The Mercury Shopping Centre. It will target communities in Harold Hill, Romford, Rainham, and Orchard Village.

Mathew Russell, Executive Director of Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on behalf of Havering Changing said, ‘The Havering Changing consortium are incredibly excited about the fresh and life‎ enhancing projects the much admired Creative People and Places programme will enable local residents in Havering to dream up, debate and realise. It’s brilliant to be working in a new partnership, in places where more arts and culture can make a real difference, at a time of such change in the borough. We’re all looking forward to sharing and learning what we discover together over the next four years and beyond’

Joyce Wilson, Area Director London, Arts Council England said, Creative People & Places was established to enable communities to direct their own cultural programmes and increase engagement in the arts, and I am really pleased we are able to support Havering Changing and its plan for the borough. Havering has one of the lowest levels of engagement in publicly supported arts and culture, not because of any lack of interest, but because of a lack of opportunity. This project will enable people to test their own ideas, support their ambition and let the community shape how, why and when they engage in cultural activity. We know place-based arts and culture has a huge impact on people’s lives, and the communities they live in, and look forward to seeing how the project contributes to positive change in the borough’.

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering Council Cabinet Member for Culture said:

‘This is fantastic news that will make a real difference for Havering communities. The benefits of taking part in cultural activities – for health, friendship, education and skills – are absolutely clear and I commend the bid team for its compelling vision for what together we can achieve.’

The London Borough of Havering Youth Service and myplace said: “We are delighted to be a part of the Havering Changing consortium that has led to the future delivery of the Creative People and Places Project. We are very excited that young people who are not engaged with the arts, or think that is not for them, will have the opportunity to take part in creative learning opportunities that will be transformative, fulfilling and will equip them with skills for life. Havering Youth Service is looking forward to continuing with this partnership to improves the lives and outcomes for young people through the vehicle of Arts and Culture”

Havering Volunteer Centre said ‘For Havering Volunteer Centre to be a part of the Havering Changing consortium which is developing the exciting Creating People and Places Project will enable us to engage volunteers who have a great passion for the Arts and Culture.  More importantly we will be able to encourage those local residents into volunteering within the Arts in Havering that may have thought “it’s not their cup of tea”.  This project will open up a world of possibilities that may have stayed firmly closed if not for this project.   We cannot wait to embark on this journey of discovery with them and enlighten others of the wonders of volunteering within the Arts and Culture for Havering.’ 

Natalie Bays, Deputy Centre Manager, the Mercury Shopping Centre said ‘It has been incredible to work with such a passionate team of people in the Havering Changing consortium over the past months, and we are very proud at The Mercury that we have helped to bring a Creative People and Places programme to our local area. We believe that arts and creativity will flourish in our community and this programme can give us the support we need to provide more creative opportunities and enhanced experiences for more people than ever. We can’t wait to get started and see the differences to peoples live this programme can make.’

Havering Colleges said ‘Creative People and Places’ will create life-changing experiences for the young people of Havering. The Havering Colleges are extremely honoured to be a part of such a motivated and forward-thinking consortium. The creative projects will not only engage and excite young people with amazing arts and cultural experiences but will also lead to an increased understanding of, and pathway into, employment within the thriving Arts sector. Building cross-generational relationships and working as a community will be at the heart of our commitment as we work to increase the life chances of our students through this initiative.

Rainham Association for Village Events (R.A.V.E.) said ‘We are delighted to be a part of the Havering Changing consortium that has led to the future delivery of the Creative People and Places Project. We are very pleased to be part of this as it will help to grow and engage our community further and hopefully provide more activities for both R.A.V.E. and the village of Rainham. Rainham Association for Village Events is looking forward to continuing with this partnership to improve the lives and outcomes for people through the vehicle of Arts and Culture’.

Clarion Futures (the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group) said ‘We are delighted to be part of a consortium that will be championing access to the arts across Havering. Clarion Futures exists to strengthen communities and provide opportunities for our residents and it is fantastic to be part of a group that will be driving participation across the community. We look forward to playing our part and involving as many Clarion residents as possible.’

Across England, £17,472,604 National Lottery funding has been awarded to create arts and cultural experiences in areas with historically low levels of arts and cultural engagement across England.  These twelve projects, part of the Creative People and Places programme, will take place between 2019-2023 and will be created in collaboration with their local communities.

The projects will be developed and delivered by consortia of diverse local partners, empowering people to shape the arts and cultural provision where they live.

Find out more about Havering Changing and Creative People and Places here

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