Show goes on for arts scheme

LeftCoast volunteer Suzie with Boucherie Bacul at Showzam! earlier this year
LeftCoast volunteer Suzie with Boucherie Bacul at Showzam! earlier this year
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Arts chiefs are celebrating a £1m investment for Blackpool and Wyre’s pioneering programme LeftCoast.

The additional Arts Council England cash has been confirmed two years into an initial three-year £3m pot which saw the body established in 2013.

LeftCoast executive director Julia Turpin

LeftCoast executive director Julia Turpin

It is one of just six handouts totalling £5m across the country from the Arts Council’s Creative People and Places fund, and is the largest share granted.

It has been hailed as a ‘vote of confidence’ in allowing LeftCoast’s work to continue for three more years.

Executive director Julia Turpin said: “This is a huge vote of confidence not just in LeftCoast but in Blackpool and Wyre as a place where great art can be developed and engaged with.”

Among its projects are the Showzam! circus festival, bringing world-renouned performers to the area and supporting Blackpool’s bid for investment in the Illuminations LightPool.

As The World Tipped - A Real Life Disaster Movie In The Sky at Blackpool Cricket Club

As The World Tipped - A Real Life Disaster Movie In The Sky at Blackpool Cricket Club

There has also been professional support for developing artists and communities.

LeftCoast will continue to work with partners Blackpool Coastal Housing, Wyre and Blackpool councils, Merlin and the Grand Theatre.

Blackpool Coastal Housing chief executive and chair of LeftCoast’s steering group John Donnellon said: “We’re delighted that Arts Council England is backing another three years of the programme.

“The work LeftCoast has been doing has been invaluable in raising the bar in artistic quality and challenging perceptions about what is on offer to people in the area.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, praised the impact the programme has on the visitor economy, adding: “By having a vibrant arts and creative scene we’re able to attract cultural tourists into the town through changing perceptions on a national level.”

And director of places at Wyre Council Michael Ryan said: “The work LeftCoast has been doing in the area has been outstanding and has seen some great companies work with our communities.”