The new B&B where the landlady’s all art

Left Coast artistic director Michael Trainor outside traditional Blackpool B&Bs
Left Coast artistic director Michael Trainor outside traditional Blackpool B&Bs
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A new bed and breakfast, designed and created by artists and redeveloped by recovering addicts, has won a prestigious £50,000 award.

Arts group LeftCoast has won the Clore Prize to help develop Arts Bed and Breakfast – a new concept for Blackpool.

AB&B is the brainchild of LeftCoast artistic director Michael Trainor and Blackpool Council’s head of culture Polly Hamilton, who as fellows of the Clore Duffield Foundation – an organisation which provides grants to cultural projects – helped put together the funding bid.

Just eight awards have been given to ‘innovative arts projects’, with AB&B the only winner in the north, in what is part of the foundation’s 50th anniversary year. AB&B is a new concept in the bed and breakfast field, re-imagining the traditional seaside lodgings with arts and culture at the heart of the business plan.

It will be run as a social enterprise, with artists commissioned to create every element of the traditional B&B experience, from a virtual landlady to the bedroom décor.

LeftCoast is in the process of securing one of Blackpool’s vacant B&Bs, with the renovation work to be carried out by local residents.

The group has hailed the Clore Prize as “putting the town on the map as ripe for cultural investment and innovation”.

As well as drawing in artists, the project will work with an addiction recovery programme in partnership with Lancashire Police, providing employment and support to find housing.

Mr Trainor said: “It is a huge achievement for Blackpool to have secured this investment against the best of the UK’s cultural leaders.

“We’re honoured to have been selected by the Clore Duffield Foundation, and it is a testament to their confidence in Blackpool and seismic cultural shift taking place here.

“B&Bs are an incredibly important part of the visual landscape and popular culture of Blackpool.

“AB&B is an opportunity to celebrate all that is good in the B&B tradition, and re-imagine them in a more creative future.”

Judges included foundation chairman Dame Vivien Duffield, head of BBC News James Harding and artistic director of Southbank Centre Jude Kelly OBE.

Sue Hoyle, of the Clore Leadership Programme, said: “Dame Vivien Duffield’s vision, courage, generosity and loyalty has inspired others to be generous in their support.”