Blackpool's Skool of Street celebrating massive cash boost for LGBTQ+ creative arts project
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Skool of Street is among volunteer-led schemes across the country to receive funding from the Government’s £30m Know Your Neighbourhood Fund.
The grant will be used to fund staff and activities ranging from regular live music and free creative workshops from local artists to dance, yoga, reflexology and creative writing.
Called ‘back to their house’, the project will also provide a safe space for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ at the Ferny House – an arts-inspired hotel on the Promenade.
The new venue is an off-shoot of House of Wingz on Back Reads Road, where Skool of Street already has a base.
Aish Bell-Docherty, artistic and creative director of House of Wingz, said: “We felt there were no nice places to go in terms of queer spaces in Blackpool, and identified a lack of high-quality creative opportunities for people from the LGBTQ+ community.
“What we are trying to do is bring queer people into spaces where they feel safe, which is especially important when they want to express themselves artistically.
“Ferny House is a very arty b&b, and right in the heart of Blackpool on the Promenade, so we feel we are also reclaiming that area for the LGBTQ+ community.
“There is no way we could have done it without the grant which will help fund staff and our programme of activities. We also use a lot of freelance artists.
“But once we have started, it will build a legacy and not be a stand alone project.”
Workshops and activities will be held four days a week with dance, music, mindfulness, fashion and writing projects among the areas of focus.
Up to £30m is being provided through the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund to create volunteering opportunities and support those experiencing or at risk of chronic loneliness.
Civil Society Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This funding will mean those in some of the most disadvantaged areas across the country are able to volunteer in an area that interest them.
“From arts groups to skills development workshops, there are thousands of ways for people to get involved, meet new people and try new things.”