Vital Sparks

At Vital Sparks we believe that anyone can run an exciting creative project.  Whether it's starting a poetry festival in your ward, producing a bespoke gate for a community space or devising a piece of theatre with a local archive… the people of Plymouth are brimming with good ideas.

Photograph of a girl holding a yellow bucket with Vital Sparks logoBut how do you get your creative project off the ground? Finding funding, the right artist or project support may be what is stopping you.  If that is the case, Vital Sparks is here to help. This city-wide initiative is designed to inspire arts, culture and creativity in Plymouth.

Since 2013 Vital Sparks has been funding and supporting projects in our city.  At the heart of our work is our funding scheme.  Small bursaries from £500 to £5,000 are available to grass roots groups and the average award is around £2,500.  Twice a year we gift bursaries to a number of exciting and innovative projects.  Applications are assessed and applicants know if they have been successful within 2/3 weeks of the closing date.

If you have the seed of an idea, we recommend you talk it through with the Vital Sparks Producer Fiona Evans before you apply for funding.  She can help you polish your application.

“I had never written an application for money before but with Fiona’s help and guidance I was surprised at how easy it was to fill in the form and write about my ideas. Fiona was always on hand to guide me through the process and took the fear out of filling in an application for money. If you have a great idea believe in yourself and go for it. I did and I succeeded!”

..our mission is to encourage people to work together and get creative..

Vital Sparks is a partnership project between Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Culture and its mission is to ignite passion, imagination and a sense of can-do for groups who want to put on an event, a show, an exhibition, or create a mural or sculpture – anything that encourages people to work together and get creative.

Funded by Arts Council England this project is an unmissable opportunity to develop working relationships between communities and arts organisations for celebration and change.

For more information about the projects we have funded so far, follow the links to the previous rounds at the top right of this page, or visit our Facebook page. The film below features some of the groups who’ve been part of Vital Sparks, as they talk about their experience and what they achieved!

Who can apply?

..we can support groups who have no experience of running a creative project before..

Community, youth, residents groups and motivated individuals can apply for funding and you don’t need a constitution or a bank account. Vital Sparks is interested in supporting groups which have no experience of running a creative project before.  If necessary we can pay for goods or artists direct, or you can set up a credit union account for your project with our support.

Artists and art organisations cannot apply for Vital Sparks funding direct but we encourage the commissioning of these organisations by community groups to provide creative services.

Schools are not considered for Vital Sparks funding unless they can demonstrate that their project idea is delivered in partnership with the wider community and has an impact beyond the school community.

If you are a CIC, established organisation or charity you cannot apply for Vital Sparks funding unless you are submitting an application on behalf of a vulnerable group, individual or young person.