Prosper North organisations and their local communities

Our Prosper North community are an incredible network of organisations that operate in the cultural heritage sector and provide positive social impact to their communities in the North of England. Facing the unique challenges of a COVID-19 world, our third cohort of organisations took part in the final edition of the programme from September 2020 to February 2021.

How do our Prosper North community create work and engage audiences in their local communities? As the programme wraps up, we caught up with some of our cohort to ask them to share a piece of work that they have delivered over the last two years that best represents their mission as a cultural heritage organisation. Read on to find out more!

Blaze Arts is a youth-led charity which delivers high quality projects across the North West, focusing on developing young people’s skills as leaders, producers, programmers and artists.

“The Festival of Hope was a celebration and exploration of hope and heritage led by young people working in collaboration with museums around the North West. Blaze produced the festival which took place last summer. The festival is part of the wider Hope Streets programme where Museum partners will transform the ways in which they work with young people. You can see over 40 pieces of youth led programming over at the Festival of Hope website. This piece of work epitomises Blaze’s mission by placing young people at the heart of projects, following their lead and supporting them to commission, programme and create high quality arts and culture.”

HATCH establish and host events for communities to create, make and debate, with a collective interest in how art can make a real difference to people’s lives.

WOVEN is a celebration of innovation in textiles across Kirklees. It first took place in June 2019, with the next big event due in June 2021. The festival is initiated and funded by Kirklees Council, but is owned by everyone, including community groups, textile businesses, cultural and educational organisations, artists and heritage sites across the district. WOVEN’s theme is generations of innovators, connecting a strong heritage with today’s innovative developments in industry, university research, a strong arts and crafts scene and the creative expression of the district’s rich and diverse communities.”

Healthy Arts work with individuals, groups, charities and health providers to create projects which make people feel more connected with their local community and environment, increase their confidence and self-esteem and develop wider social, communication and creative skills.

“Our mission was redefined in the business modelling work we did with Prosper North. Quite simply, it became “to improve peoples’ lives through engagement with heritage and the arts”. The pandemic did not stop us mounting what we do best! In September 2020 we delivered an outdoor, socially distanced theatre promenade performance at Lancashire Mining Museum, entitled “The Life & Times of Chat Moss”, to over 200 people. In partnership with the museum and the Carbon Landscape Partnership, we engaged with the community in celebrating industrial development, science and the environment with performances from local actors and musicians.”

Prosper North was a free programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and delivered by Creative United in partnership with Key FundBates WellsSocial Investment Business. The programme offered a mix of free, tailored 1:1 business support, workshops, webinars and meetups designed to enable cultural heritage organisations in the North of England to increase income and impact, become more resilient businesses and explore social investment.

You can find out more about the Prosper North programme here.