£4m. arts aid for Burnley youth project

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A BURNLEY based group which helps children from deprived backgrounds access the arts has been given a massive funding boost.

Curious Minds, based at Lodge House, Cow Lane, has received £4m. from Arts Council England at a time when many arts groups have suffered funding cuts.

Arts Council England has chosen the group to become one of 10 new national “Bridge Organisations” for arts and cultural work with children and young people.

Chris May, Curious Minds chief executive, said: “We are delighted to learn of our success in becoming a strategic partner to Arts Council England. Across the North-West a vibrant community of organisations and individuals has a strong reputation for developing exciting work with children and young people.

“Our aim will be to help young people to be part of the cultural landscape in ways that ensure their talents and achievements are spotted and celebrated.

“We want progression into employment in the creative industries made easier, and for children and young people to have a genuine voice in the planning and delivery of services.”

Emphasis will be placed on:

l making information about the arts in the local area more readily available;

l using the arts to support teaching of different parts of the curriculum in schools;

l encouraging young people to pursue employment within the creative industries and to become the artists of the future

l ensuring that children and young people who face particular challenges or who experience severe economic disadvantage can still take part and create their own work.

The new programme will start fully in April next year but work begins immediately on an interim year in which Curious Minds will try to strengthen relationships with and between schools, arts organisations, artists and other groups in the North-West.

Curious Minds evolved from Arts Council England’s Creative Partnerships programme in East Lancashire in December, 2005.

Mr May added: “A central belief of the organisation is that it is everyone’s right to have the opportunity to realise their creative potential, developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to contribute fully to society and lead positive and productive lives.”