My View, Elaine Hirst: Cash is in for a new phase of arts work

DNweekeND in Doncaster.  Lucy Hayes (seven) from Warmsworth with Jonny Dixon from Pif-Paf try out the Flycycle.   Picture: Malcolm Billingham
DNweekeND in Doncaster. Lucy Hayes (seven) from Warmsworth with Jonny Dixon from Pif-Paf try out the Flycycle. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

As 2016 gets under way we are starting to look towards the next phase of Right Up Our Street in Doncaster.

After an amazing three years where our team of arts supporters and curators have worked with communities from across the borough developing the arts, crafts and creative spirit, we are now looking to build on this foundation.

And, thanks to Arts Council funding from the Creative People and Places project, we are now looking to develop a further three years of arts activities in Doncaster for the community, involving the community.

We are delighted that we will be continuing to work with many of the community members who have worked tirelessly to bring events in their area to life.

The work will be led by Andrew Loretto, who will be taking on the role of project director.

Originally funded for three years in 2013 by the Arts Council, Right Up Our Street has been all about Doncaster people choosing, making, seeing and sharing great art.

Working together, the organisations darts (Doncaster Community Arts), Cast (Doncaster’s theatre venue), DVAN(Doncaster Voluntary Arts Network) and DCLT (Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust) have helped to deliver arts projects in our communities.

The last three years have shown that there is a clear appetite for and interest in the creative arts in our town.

Phase two will enable us to put our focus on sustaining audience engagement, extending artistic ambition and embedding community decision making.

We’ll also work to develop Doncaster’s annual arts festival, DNweekeND, to attract residents from all areas to travel to the centre for the event and keep local communities inspired by activity happening locally.

Right Up Our Street phase two will be very different to what has gone before.

For one thing, we will be working with a hugely reduced budget with the funding coming in at a third of what was allocated in the first three years.

We’ve been delighted by the way local residents have embraced Right Up Our Street.

They have thrown themselves into the projects we’ve developed with them and for them.

The next steps will be to further strengthen the involvement of community members in programming decisions for the borough, not just for their own communities.

Phase two will provide fantastic opportunities for us to work with the Doncaster communities to develop sustainable projects and groups which will ultimately help to keep the arts alive in our town.

* Elaine Hirst, Arts worker, Right Up Our Streets