Gosport high street awarded £100,000 for cultural programme

Entrance to Gosport High Street

A partnership of organisations from across Gosport has been awarded a £100,000 grant from Historic England as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ). Gosport Cultural Consortium will create and deliver a programme of community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

Led by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust, the Gosport Cultural Consortium consists of representatives from Bridgemary School, Gosport Heritage Open Days, Gosport Discovery Centre, Gosport Voluntary Action, Gosport U3A and the Gosport Diving Museum.

Gosport is one of more than 60 high streets across England to receive a share of £6 million for its cultural programme, with grants of up to £120,000 awarded to local arts organisations for cultural activity on each high street. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme is led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and aims to make high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time, helping to re-energise them for the benefit of the local community.

Emily Gee, Regional Director, Historic England in London and the South East, said: ‘The High Streets Cultural Programme is such an important – and exciting – way of bringing people back to their cherished high streets in need of love. We are working together to regenerate historic high streets through conservation and building work, and this community-led cultural activity programme will draw people back to enliven and shape these special places for the future.’

Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: ‘On behalf of all the partners in the Gosport Cultural Consortium, we are thrilled to have received this award from Historic England. Through this three-year programme, we want to use arts, heritage and culture to create earning and employment opportunities, to encourage more people from across all communities to get involved with cultural events and to help support the delivery of the HSHAZ programme, celebrating the renewed identity of Gosport’s high street and contributing to its long term viability.’

Plans for the Gosport cultural programme include:

  • Creative grants: an annual community pot for creative projects in and around the high street.
  • Guided tours:  establishment of a new guided tours programme in the high street, bringing Gosport’s history and heritage to life with themed, charged walking tours through the town centre and cycling tours.
  • First Timers Festival: in response to interest in a larger-scale community event, a First Timers Festival that will encourage visitors to try something creative for the first time.
  • HSHAZ supporting activity:  including workshops, artist commissions, heritage talks and a project to animate historic alleyways in the town centre.
  • Creative retailing: opportunities for local makers and artists to sell their wares.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage MP, commented: ‘High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy. These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer.’

The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run in Gosport since the autumn of 2020. This pilot programme will come to a close with a Maker’s Market, which will be held on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 May at Gosport Gallery and SEARCH in the Old Grammar School on the town’s High Street. The market will give local artists, artisans and makers the opportunity to showcase and sell their goods with a free-of-charge stall, while workshops, performances and demonstrations on both days will give visitors a chance to get creative themselves. Admission to the Makers Market is free, but pre-booking is essential to help ensure the safety of all visitors and stallholders. Places can be booked at www.hampshireculture.org.uk/gosport-gallery.

For further information please contact:press@hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk | 07710 093 821

Image copyright Historic England Archive, James O. Davies

ENDS

Hampshire Cultural Trust was established in 2014 to promote Hampshire as a great cultural county. We manage and support 23 arts and museums attractions across Hampshire, deliver county-wide outreach programmes that bring culture to local communities and care for 2.5 million objects relating to Hampshire’s rich and internationally important heritage. We also deliver a diverse range of social impact initiatives targeted at those who are most vulnerable or disadvantaged and who would not usually have access to arts and culture. Our mission is to provide great arts, heritage, museums and creative programming, working closely with local and national partners, placing communities, our collections and their stories at the heart of everything we do. To find out more, visit hampshireculture.org.uk, follow us on Twitter @HantsCulture, Instagram @HantsCulture and Facebook @HampshireCulturalTrust.

High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme
The £7.4 million Cultural Programme is part of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative, which is currently working across over 60 English high streets. It is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund, £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund, and a further £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Cultural activity funded by the local grants scheme will take place over the next three years, in tandem with the national commissions organised by Historic England. For the national commissions, artists will work with communities and co-produce artworks inspired by England’s changing high streets. Together, the local grants scheme and the national commissions make up the Cultural Programme.

To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @HistoricEngland / #HistoricHighStreets and visit: www.HistoricEngland.org.uk/HighStreetCulture

About Historic England

We are Historic England 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. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care 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 we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

About National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.  www.heritagefund.org.uk.  Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund