VIDEO: Share of £2m puts Spring in step of arts project

AN ambitious scheme to get people in South Tyneside inspired by the arts has won part of a £2m fund.

The Arts Council has awarded the cash to The Cultural Spring project.

'exciting project' ... Ray Spencer is looking forward to seeing talent unearthed by the project.

'exciting project' ... Ray Spencer is looking forward to seeing talent unearthed by the project.

The Biddick Hall and Whiteleas areas of South Shields have been earmarked to benefit from the funding, along with estates in Sunderland, because of their links to painters and wordsmiths.

The scheme is being led by the University of Sunderland in partnership with the Customs House in South Shields and the newly-formed Music and Culture Trust in Sunderland.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, said: “It’s very interesting that there’s so many streets in South Shields named after artists and painters, but not that many people are actually connected to the arts.

“This is very exciting project which will hopefully change that, whether it be folk coming together at community centres or perhaps working on new qualifications through the university.

“We have a lot of people in South Tyneside who have an inherent talent, so goodness knows what we will unearth once this project starts.”

The cash will also be used on schemes which the wider community can be involved with.

The group will work over the next six months with the Arts Council and other partners to finalise the business plan and programme schedule.

It is also likely they will appoint an artistic director and project manager to work with local communities to commission the activities.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, regional director of Arts Council England, said: “The Cultural Spring project will be a real asset to Sunderland and South Tyneside.

“I am so pleased to see the project partners have secured investment from our creative people and places scheme.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez