Arts organisations in nine Yorkshire towns and cities given Historic England funding to help revive struggling high streets

Historic England has announced funding grants for arts projects in nine struggling Yorkshire high streets in need of revival.

Eldon Street in Barnsley has been selected for Heritage Action Zone support
Eldon Street in Barnsley has been selected for Heritage Action Zone support

Huddersfield, Barnsley, Hull, Sowerby Bridge, Leeds, Skipton, Northallerton, Selby and Wakefield are among 60 towns and cities across the country that have designated Heritage Action Zone status and are eligible for government support to regenerate formerly busy retail centres. All have been chosen for their historic and cultural value.

In the latest phase of Historic England funding, grants will be given to local arts organisations to create and deliver activities in their target streets for the next three years.

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In Barnsley, the Teenage Wildlife project has won £75,000 to work with Barnsley College, Lamp Room Theatre, The Civic Barnsley and St Mary's Church and run a programme based around the history of young people's links to Eldon Street and the rest of the town centre. Events will feature fashion, music and social movements from various time periods over the past 60 years and act as a focal point to bring different generations together.

Huddersfield town centre will receive £90,000 to go towards the running of guided walks, a Caribbean-themed carnival and events based on the area's sporting history ahead of the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

In Hull, the Hi!Whitefriargate cultural programme focuses on the Old Town's most historic street. £100,000 will be spent on new commissions, performances and exhibitions about its heritage and the role it has played in the city's social, political and commercial history.

Leeds shopping street New Briggate, has been awarded £119,774 for pop-up events, exhibitions and installations to run during 2023.

In Northallerton, a series of events have been planned to compile a digital archive of memories of the market town, which will be collected through workshop sessions with local residents. Young artists will also be asked to develop an arts trail.

The Selby Stories project has been given £89,500 for a similar programme to record local folklore, with artist residencies, projections, performances and music planned to celebrate it.

Skipton's cultural funding will be put towards engaging younger residents and changing the perception of the market town from traditional to vibrant.

Sowerby Bridge's Soar Bridge Shine! project will support local artists at a cultural space called Fire & Water, including festivals and street art showcases.

And in Wakefield, £90,000 has been awarded to the Hidden Stories project by Westgate Voices, which will work towards a community opera, visual art opportunities and a lantern parade.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”