Coal Regeneration Trust Funding Received

Local Cultural Education Partnership receives funding for ‘C.O.A.L’ - a new arts festival that celebrates local talent

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has invested £9,820 in ‘Creating Opportunities for Aspiring Leaders’ (C.O.A.L), a new project based in the coalfields area of Amber Valley. The project will work with 15 Young Leaders to offer training and work experience that generates transferable skills for their future employment journey, whilst simultaneously creating a new festival experience for the local community.

The driver behind the activity is the desire to diversify the cultural offer in Amber Valley and building the skills of local people, so they can consider the creative and cultural industries a viable career pathway.

The project is a response to the government ‘Creative Industries Focus On Employment’ report released in June 2015. The report highlighted the inequality of employment opportunity in relation to socio-economic class: “In 2014, 91.9% of jobs in the Creative Economy were done by people in more advantaged socio-economic groups compared to 66.0% of jobs in the wider UK economy. More advantaged groups made up 92.1% of jobs in the Creative Industries”

Jodie Cresswell-Waring, Director of Platform Thirty1 and local resident, said “After reading the report we wanted to better understand how to ensure young people in Amber Valley have the skills and knowledge to access creative/cultural careers. Research says the rural and deprived nature of the area creates lower social mobility and less likelihood of equal access to relevant training and arts experiences for employment. As a local resident I know there’s often a lack of professional role models for young people in creative careers. We want to start to address this equality gap with C.O.A.L”

Platform Thirty1, a local not-for-profit, leads the Cultural Education Partnership ‘Black Shale’, a collective of voluntary groups and local businesses, which was founded just this year. The partnership is a response to the Cultural Education Challenge as set by Arts Council England, which highlights equality of access to excellent arts experiences, regardless of postcode, as important for our communities.

Director of Platform Thirty1 Samantha Whelan said “We’re absolutely thrilled to have the support of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to move this project forward. We’re very much looking forward to meeting artists and creative businesses that want to get involved!”

Young Leaders will become commissioners of new activity that is led by local people, in turn enabling residents to get involved in an arts experience too. Young Leaders will also gain an Arts Award qualification through the experience.

Sally Lemsford, a local Artist and member of the partnership, said “I have been developing creative projects in the area for years as a solo artist. Now through this partnership, we have a louder voice that is being heard and things are accelerating. This festival is just the beginning!”

The project aims to work with 15 Young Leaders and reach 500 local residents during the festival itself.


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