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Grass roots project develops creative space for inner city children in Bristol

  • Date: 2 May 2014
  • Area: South West
Young girls photographing in playground

Photography project with Deborah Weinreb at Playground. Credit: Deborah Weinreb

Felix Road Adventure Playground in Easton, Bristol has been awarded a grant of £15,000 from Arts Council England's National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts scheme to transform their creative and performance space. The award will support the employment of an arts coordinator who will find the best local artists to work with young people in the area, educating, inspiring and nurturing talent.

Felix Road Adventure Playground was established in 1972 by a group of local parents concerned that their children should have a space to play. Since then it has remained open, despite council cuts, through sheer determination by local people and parents. Felix Road is one of the most deprived areas in the South West; in the top 10% of deprivation in Britain and suffers from income deprivation and overcrowding. 63% live in purpose built blocks of flats and for 28% English is not their first language.

The open-access playground provides a space for young people aged eight to 18 to play, learn, explore and make friends. The grant supports the development of the cultural offer for young people in this deprived area. Professional, local artists - selected carefully by the arts coordinator in collaboration with the young people - will run arts based activities throughout the school holidays to ignite passion and inspire creativity. Activities will include visual arts, music, movement and drama. Young people will also learn skills of decision making, diplomacy and performance.

The artistic activities will run alongside gardening and regeneration projects at the playground, offering the young people a holistic programme of education and entertainment. Young people will start to see art as accessible and achievable and be able to take a pride and ownership in the space they have helped create.

Lisa Coleman, Trustee of the Felix Road Adventure Playground Association, said: 'We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Arts Council. We want our children to be inspired and surrounded by art and creativity to enhance their lives. We see art as a great way of bringing our communities together and encouraging and inspiring the talent we have in our community. This grant will kick start exciting new creative directions for the playground and make a real difference to our children's lives.'

Through this project the playground aims to further establish itself as a creative hub of the community and a key arts provider. By making connections with local artists, involving young people in decision making processes and developing a space for people to learn together, the project will bring the diverse community together and avoid the segregation that can be inherent in these areas.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'We are very pleased that this award supports the development of arts provision for children and young people from culturally diverse backgrounds as well as in an area with low cultural engagement. This is an exciting project that will leave a strong legacy in a very deprived area in the region.'

Find more detail about Felix Road Adventure Playground Association here