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Vital Sparks round 7

In our seventh funding round, five different community organisations have been awarded Vital Sparks bursaries.

Ernesettle Community Forum

A Vital Sparks funding award of £3,500 will enable a large-scale mural to be painted at the entrance to the Ernesettle Allotment Project this summer. Opened in 2016, the allotment has 16 individual plots, a communal shed and tool sharing facilities. Encouraging amateur gardeners to share skills and knowledge with their community is a focus for the work. Artist Bill Finch is aiming to create a thought-provoking and engaging piece of art, working with local people to help promote the allotments.

The Art, Craft and Laughter Studio

This project uses art and craft workshops to promote good mental health and well-being in adults. The studio believes that the act of creating produces a relaxed environment where people can open up about their mental health challenges. A Vital Sparks bursary of £3,150 will see the work produced from 18 weeks of free community workshops showcased during the Livewell Arts Festival in October. A free workshop will also be available during this year’s Plymouth Art Weekender – a three-day celebration of the city’s visual arts which features a diverse range of activities by local, national and international artists.

Pride in Plymouth

Plymouth’s lesbian heritage will be explored through newspaper articles, archival interviews, short audio plays, video clips and text. These resources will then be used to produce an innovative trail focusing on hidden stories like the one of Mary Read who was born on the Barbican in 1695. After the unfortunate death of her brother she was dressed as his replacement. This set the scene for a life of adventure as the lover of the equally famous Anne Bonny on the pirate ship of Calico Jack Rackham. Thanks to a £2,500 Vital Sparks bursary the trail will be launched next year during the 2018 Plymouth Art Weekender.

Plymouth Fijian Community

A Vital Sparks bursary of £998.57 will support ‘Bula!’ – a fascinating programme of Fijian cultural activities which will take place between now and Fiji Day in October. These include wood carving, bark cloth printing, sulu (wrap-around skirt) making, weaving fans and salusalu (necklace) making. A free jewellery-making workshop using fresh flowers, shells, wood and raffia will also take place at the School of Creative Arts during this year’s Plymouth Art Weekender.

The Playwriters Organisation

‘Upstairs at the Ark’ is Plymouth’s smallest theatre and a fitting venue for a series of free evening workshops in playwriting and an introduction to theatre production. The programme has been awarded £800 and will be launched at the Noah’s Ark Pub during the Plymouth Art Weekender.