Successful ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ Year 2 Funding Bids Announced

Jump dance
Dance and movement in the treatment and prevention of mental illness

READING COUNCIL has announced the successful groups who bid for the year two ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ funding, based on how they could help improve the quality of life of Reading residents.

Two pots of £30K and one pot of £15K were available for arts, culture and/or heritage community programmes to run activities over 12 months, with the aim of engaging local people. This was particularly focused at those less likely to access cultural opportunities and where engagement could have a significant positive impact on their well-being.

Year two funding covers the main themes of Elderly Care, Cultural Short Breaks for Children, and Mental Health & Wellbeing.

The three successful groups are:

Rosetta Life, awarded £15K to run a programme of workshops using song, spoken word, performance and dance to impact on the mental and physical health of older people living with the effects of a stroke. A final performance will tour hospital wards for other people living the effects of a stroke and for those living with a dementia diagnosis.

Sport in Mind in partnership with Junction Dance, awarded £30K (funded in partnership with Berkshire Community Foundation) to trial and develop multiple approaches to using dance and movement in the treatment, management and prevention of mental illness. The programmes will be co-produced by the participants and focus on improving self-esteem and confidence, as well as breaking down stigma through a social media campaign and work in schools around mental health.

Reading Rep Theatre in partnership with Jelly, awarded £30K (funded in partnership with Brighter Futures for Children) to deliver a programme of visual art and drama workshops, resulting in a celebratory festival for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.

Three mini pilot projects will also be funded this year, including Reading International in partnership with the arts collective Ultra Red, to deliver mental health themed work with young people in south Reading; The Rising Sun Arts Centre in partnership with RealTime Video, to deliver research and activities for older people; and The Whitley Researchers to provide Reading-wide research into the needs of older people and the barriers to older people engaging in arts.

This is the second year of the three year project running to 2020. Year 3 funding opportunities will open for applications in September 2019, with £30K available for activities to support children. For more information visit: To find out more visit

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m delighted we have again found three very worthy recipients for the Reading, Place of Culture funding. It is also fantastic news we have been able extend our funding to three additional mini pilot projects. Reading is the sum of all our amazing residents and groups and the efforts that they work so hard on to bring to fruition to our town’s benefit. These dedicated and talented people are an integral key to Reading’s ever-expanding and increasingly noted cultural offerings.

“We know that engaging in arts and cultural activities has a wide reaching beneficial impact on people’s health; improving recovery from illness, promoting community spirit, combatting loneliness and relieving the pressure on GP services. I’m excited to see how each of these innovative projects will help contribute towards supporting the well-being of Reading’s residents.

“The three projects we have funded during year 1 are already having a significant impact on the lives of the people involved.

“I’d also like to extend our thanks to the generous support from National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, which has enabled these projects to take place.”

Reading, Place of Culture is part of the Great Place Scheme, which is funded by the Arts Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.



Find out more about the successful groups here:

Reading International in partnership with the sound and visual arts collective Ultra Red will work with children and young people in Whitley to explore the concept of ‘care’, and how young people might care more for themselves and one another, and the community for them. Find out more at

Ageing Well Pilot: funding Real Time and the Rising Sun Arts Centre to deliver a programme of cultural activities with older people, creating a team of ‘cultural champions’ to support isolated older members of the community to access arts and cultural activities. Find out more at and

About The Great Place Scheme

In 2017, Reading Borough Council and its partners, Reading UK CIC and the University of Reading, successfully secured a grant of £558,471 thanks to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England for the Great Place Scheme.

The scheme funds projects in areas where there is a commitment to embed arts, culture and heritage in local plans and decision-making. The funding covers a three year period to support programmes running until December 2020.

The Great Place Scheme is designed to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities across England. Sixteen areas, including Reading, are piloting a new approach to enable cultural, community and civic organisations to work more closely together.

In Reading this will include supporting various community projects targeted at improving health, well-being and quality of life, as well as support for the Reading-on-Thames festival which marries Reading’s waterways heritage with a high-quality arts and cultural programme.

The Great Place Scheme award is external funding Reading Council has successfully bid for. That means it can only be spent on arts, culture and heritage related projects that formed the bid, rather than any other Council services. Activities proposed as part of the Great Place Scheme bid are strongly aligned with the Council’s priorities for supporting Reading’s economic success and the well-being of its residents.

For more information on the Great Place Scheme visit:

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

About Historic England

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. Find out more at

Victoria Nickless

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