Cultural project set to Inspire

INNOVATIVE plans for a major cultural project aimed at inspiring youngsters to reach their potential could become a reality if a funding bid for £350,000 is successful.

Officers at Hartlepool Council are hoping to secure the funding to stage the Inspire project, which will feature art, music, sport and history - including a spotlight on World War One as 2014 marks the 100th year anniversary since the start of the conflict.

It would include a music project in conjunction with Tees Valley Music, an arts and books project and a photographic project working with young women in Hartlepool and using the Veiled Rebellion exhibition, by Lynsey Addario, about women in Afghanistan.

If funding is secured there would also be a ‘Love Books, Love Film’ project at the Town Hall Theatre, which officers say would aim to encourage literacy by using the connection between books and the films they inspire.

It would also include a World War One project including a “major exhibition” at Hartlepool Art Gallery, the scale and size of which is yet to be finalised.

The aim is to inspire young people to break out of the “vicious circle” that some find themselves in either because of family circumstances, poverty or stereotyping.

The three-year Inspire project is a joint initiative from staff within the council’s culture and youth services section and it was endorsed by independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services.

Coun Hill heard that a grant application for £308,686 is being submitted to The Big Lottery – Reaching Communities England in respect of the Inspire project and £40,000 to the Young Roots strand of the Heritage Lottery for the project to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of World War One.

Coun Hill welcomed the project’s potential, and highlighted the importance of individuals being acknowledged for their hard work and development within the town.

Coun Hill said: “What I think needs to emphasised is the absolute horror of World War One.

“The generals were never more removed from the people that were fighting than in that war, they really were cannon fodder.

“The conditions that they were living in, it was absolutely disgusting, and I hope that is reflected in the commemoration.”

Coun Hill added: “I look forward to hearing reports back about how we are doing.”

A report to the meeting said: “Young people have informed the development of this joint working from the beginning.

“In total 180 young people have been consulted, 132 have attended events and activities, and a core group of 14 have formed a representative group (Arts4Tees) to develop funding, to consult more widely and to organise events.”

Sport would also feature heavily.

John Mennear, the council’s assistant director of community services, said the idea was to expand the Inspire brand, used in the build-up to the Olympics in the summer of 2012, which featured female sporting stars from Hartlepool but this time it would target young men and women.