Culture

York view from above

York’s new Tourism Strategy to lead the way for an even better quality of life in the city of York

York

A new eight-year tourism strategy for York has been officially adopted by the City of York Council on behalf of the city.

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a re-evaluation of global tourism, with York’s stakeholders exploring new approaches to create value beyond visitor volume. In response, the York Tourism Advisory Board was relaunched in late 2020, bringing together over 60 stakeholders from across York and the wider region, and works in collaboration with Make It York, the City of York Council and York BID.  

The Tourism Advisory Board has been working on the development of a new Tourism Strategy for the city. The tourism strategy sets out a bold new vision for tourism in York. From promoting regenerative practices, to enhancing the wellbeing of York’s communities through tourism, the York Tourism Strategy is a comprehensive framework that aligns with the city’s values and aspirations. By engaging with the people who call York home, local businesses, and cultural institutions, the aim is to ensure that tourism becomes a force for positive change, contributing to the city’s prosperity and wellbeing. 

This is a new era where tourism is not an isolated goal, but an integrated means to sustain an even better quality of life in the city. It commits to preserving York’s historical legacy while embracing future opportunities. The strategy serves as a visionary roadmap to elevate the tourism experience for both residents and visitors, fostering community and pride, that is founded on principles of sustainability, inclusivity, and authenticity. 

York’s Tourism Strategy is focused on five Key Priorities with specific ambitions for the city. These include: 

  1. A Regenerative Visitor Economy: York is a responsible, robust and profitable destination with a regenerative visitor economy.  
  2. Green York: Our businesses and visitors’ commitment proactively contributes to York’s transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.  
  3. Culture: York is renowned for its heritage, culture and cutting-edge approach to creativity, which attracts cultural tourists and supports the city’s regenerative visitor economy.  
  4. Residents and Localhood: Local people experience the very best of their city and wider region alongside its visitors, with tourism contributing to the quality of life in York and beyond.  
  5. Skills and recruitment: The visitor economy is a first-choice career for school leavers and graduates, businesses invest in upskilling, apprenticeships, training and career development, and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.   

Dr Brendan Paddison, Chair of York Tourism Advisory Board and Associate Professor at York St John University, said:

“York’s new tourism strategy will transform York’s approach to tourism, ensuring the city becomes a world-leader in regenerative tourism, that it grows and diversifies its offer responsibly, and that the city maximises tourism’s contribution to the economy, employment and the quality of life in York and beyond. The strategy was co-produced by the city, with extensive consultation with a breadth of stakeholders from across York and the wider region.”

York welcomes 8.9 million visitors annually, contributing £1.7 billion to the local economy and supporting 17,000 jobs. The new strategy emphasizes sustainability and community engagement, setting out a vision where heritage, culture, and public space are important and, the car is less important.  

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director of Make It York, said:

“We are thrilled to share our vision for the city and to continue our commitment in promoting York and its surroundings as a wonderful place to live, work and visit. This strategy is essential, as it drives our work in York’s economic growth while enriching the cultural and social fabric of our community for both residents and visitors.”

This is a tourism strategy for the city of York and its success hinges on the spirit of collaboration and insights from businesses, local leaders, residents, and cultural groups, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach. 

The York Tourism Advisory Board continues to meet monthly. If you would like to know more about the Advisory Board, please contact Dr Brendan Paddison (b.paddison@yorksj.ac.uk). 

END

Press Release date: 20 June 2024 

Notes to Editors:

Image Credit: Make It York. More images: register for the Visit York Media Library.

York Tourism Strategy document below:

Contact: comms@makeityork.com   

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities. These are: City positioning and profile-raising; Ensuring an exciting city centre; Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy.   

York’s new Tourism Strategy to lead the way for an even better quality of life in the city of York Read More »

VisitEngland-Awards-for-Excellence-winners-2024

Top wins for York businesses – Visit York Tourism Award winners shine at VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Left to right: The Wizard Walk of York, The Deathly Dark Tours, MonkBridge House, The Grand York

Four Visit York Tourism Award winners celebrated at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence last night, the tourism industry’s annual national awards, following their success earlier this year at the Visit York Tourism Awards 2024 where they qualified as national finalists. 

At last night’s ceremony at the Rum Warehouse, Titanic Hotel Liverpool, the four York-based winning businesses were acknowledged as follows by the Awards for Excellence: 

  • The Grand York won the Gold Award for Large Hotel of the Year
  • The Wizard Walk of York won the Gold Award for New Tourism Business of the Year
  • The Deathly Dark Tours won the Silver Award for Experience of the Year
  • MonkBridge House won the Silver Award for B&B and Guest House of the Year

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence champion the very best of the country’s tourism industry celebrating quality, innovation, best practice and exceptional customer service, and these four winners showcase exactly that. 

    Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “Congratulations to all four winners! Their top wins highlight their excellent attention to detail and dedication to an exceptional visitor experience. This shows the incredible wealth of attractions and accommodation York has to offer.” 

    At the Visit York Tourism Awards, The Grand York, who won Large Hotel of the Year, had judges commenting on the ‘exceptionally high standards’ of luxury across the hotel and their ability to create ‘memorable and enjoyable moments for guests’. 

    Elsewhere in accommodation, MonkBridge House took the award for B&B and Guest House of the Year, with judges commenting on their ‘clear passion for their business’ which has led to ‘excellent customer service’ for visitors. 

    The Wizard Walk of York won the New Tourism Business Award with judges calling the tour ‘pure feel-good’ and commenting that they ‘haven’t smiled and laughed continually so much in ages.’ 

    Experience of the Year was awarded to The Deathly Dark Tours, with judges commenting that there was ‘no room for improvement’ and the overall ‘experience was fantastic.’ as judges ‘loved the approach’ and the ‘entertaining features that also inform and educate’. 

    View all the winners and finalists for the Visit York Tourism Awards 2024 and the VisitEngland Award For Excellence Dates.

    END

    PRESS RELEASE: Correction for 6 June press release. Corrected version: 7 June 2024

    Notes to Editors

    Download images 

    Contact: comms@makeityork.com   

    About Visit York
    Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand. Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Activity covers all aspects of tourism marketing and PR, including market intelligence, as well as providing business support through the membership programme. VisitYork.org 

    Top wins for York businesses – Visit York Tourism Award winners shine at VisitEngland Awards for Excellence Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant supports Foss Fairy Trail

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city.  

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients:  

    One of the projects which has been supported by the grants was the Foss Fairy Trail, a public river walk created by Tracy Ostle, to encourage families to discover the magical hidden fairy world on the banks of the river Foss. 

    The Foss Fairy Trail allows those walking along the river edge to explore a fairy village and discover the folklore, flora and fauna of the enchanted homes. 

    Tracy, the founder of the Fairy Trail, began the project after walking down the river pathway during lockdown and seeing a fairy door leaning against a tree – the little door added magic to an area that had otherwise been neglected and abandoned. 

    This little door inspired Tracy to create a series of ‘Nut Huts’ for the local squirrels, and the first of many fairy houses which have now been placed along the river with the aim to make people smile. To date, there are X number of fairy houses and magical installations across the river Foss.  

    With the help of local funding, the project has escalated with the support of volunteers and community members, with regular clean-up projects taking place along the riverbed as well as a variety of workshops and children’s events.  

    With this support and sheer determination, the Foss Fairy Trail has now become a retreat for many people. Volunteers regularly comment on how the fairy houses and general enhancement of the area have lifted the community as a whole. 

    One anonymous volunteer said, “Being a volunteer for the Foss fairy trail really saved me from a dark hole of depression and fear, I felt welcomed into a world of nature and magic, I felt part of a community I can’t begin to say how much that helped me. Volunteering for the fairy trail lifted my depression enough for me to make some good decisions on where to go next in life coming across so many good people inspired me to go back and get Maths and English qualifications and do the thing I always dreamed of – going to university to study art. The Foss fairy trail volunteering gave me confidence and hope that I could do this. Thanks to the Foss Fairy trail I feel filled with hope in the future once more.” 

    Tracy, founder of the Foss Fairy Trail, said, “From what started as a bit of a joke in lockdown, laying down fairy houses to make people smile has now become an increasingly popular river walk with locals and tourists alike.  The area is now providing free fun for families, helps people escape the drudgery of daily life and students sometimes study or sketch there.  I am thrilled that all the hard work myself and the volunteers have put into the project has paid off!  I get such joy from seeing a diverse number of people enjoying themselves, and all for free! You don’t often get that nowadays!” 

    “A number of people have approached me when working down the trail and commented on how the changes to the area have helped improve their wellbeing. . . A gentleman homeless alcoholic comes to mind. He often sat on the trail watching people enjoy themselves and would love to have a chat. He bought us some solar fairy lights and said he had been so inspired by the efforts of the trail it had inspired him to become a better person.”  

    Tracy has also published her own book ‘Why it all began’ – a tale of the fairies travelling down the river path and interactive with nature watching. All proceeds will go towards the continuation of the Fairy Trail.  

    You can also find out more about upcoming Foss Fairy Trail events here

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant supports Foss Fairy Trail Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Wilberforce Trust

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects which has been supported by the grants was ‘Where’s Wilber?’, a Ways to Wellbeing project from the Wilberforce Trust. 

    The Wilberforce Trust is an organisation that supports those in York, and further across North Yorkshire, with visual and hearing impairments through a variety of initiatives. One of these is ‘Club Wilber’, a local group for the families of children with visual impairments. This group runs adapted activities, events and trips, allowing visually impaired children and their siblings to safely experience recreational activities in an inclusive environment. The group also connects parents of visually impaired children, creating a supportive network within the York community. 

    The ‘Where’s Wilber’ project grows on this – research by the Wilberforce Trust showed that children with disabilities have been particularly struggling with their mental wellbeing, with 93% of families saying that Covid had a negative impact on their children’s access to social experiences and peer support. This is due to the vulnerability of those with disabilities, meaning they needed to isolate even after watching their peers return to pre-lockdown life. 

    With few community initiatives helping this these young people, the Wilberforce Trust were able to use the provision of online and electronic resources to create a wide range of appropriate activities as part of ‘Club Wilber’, that these children could enjoy to reduce their mental stress.   

    17 new activities were created to boost the mindset of the children involved, including interactive storytelling, relaxation workshops, theatre workshops with York Theatre Royal, and a range of interactive activities to take part at home such as Lego creation, baking and creating bird feeders.  

    105 children took part in these activities, 50 of whom were visually impaired. 

    86% of families from a recent impact report felt that this project had increased the variety of activities they have access to and 79% reported that they had greater access to more inclusive activities which include both visually impaired and sighted children. 

    Comments from participants include:  

    “Amazing people that run an amazing club giving families the opportunity to participate and enjoy activities together.” 

    “It is a big part of our lives and we rely on them for information about how to support our daughter.” 

    “My daughter’s brother was amazed when he saw the other children with canes – like his sister; it has been great for him to see and understand VI a little more and to meet other siblings and make friends.” 

    Pip Myring, Club Wilber Co-ordinator, says “The difference the extra hours have made to the service and the impact this has had on the children’s mental health and well-being has been phenomenal. The new sessions we can now provide for them have seen them flourish and the grant has made all this possible.” 

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Wilberforce Trust Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Pilot Theatre

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects supported by the grants is ‘Creative Connections with Sanctuary-Seekers’ – a project by Pilot Theatre which aims to creative a safe space to welcome sanctuary-seekers to York and encourage them to connect and socialise with others using a series of art, dance and craft sessions. 

    Across a two-month period, Pilot Theatre delivered six creative sessions with families from sanctuary-seeker communities in York. Working closely with Stand and Be Counted Theatre, they partnered with organisations and freelancers to deliver the free activities across the city in cultural spaces, with the sessions covering a range of activities including drumming, singing, arts and crafts, dance, storytelling and creative writing.  

    Participants ranged in age from early-years to middle-aged adults, predominantly from Syrian, Turkish and Nigerian origin. 

    Firas Chihi was the lead practitioner working with Pilot Theatre on the delivery of the project, co-curating and co-facilitating all the creative sessions and liaising with participants. The sanctuary-seeker families were all known to him from his connection with Refugee Action York, which allowed them to instantly feel at ease during these sessions. Firas is also a multi-linguist, and delivered the sessions in Arabic and English, and interpreted for other practitioners as well. 

    He said, “Working with Refugee Action York gave me the opportunity to realise that sanctuary seekers in York need a place where they can come together with their families, have a fun day, develop their skills, practise English, and get the chance to make some friends. This was made possible with the collaboration between Pilot Theatre and Stand and Be Counted Theatre. This project gave me the chance to better develop a relationship with our participants, understand their needs, find out what they enjoy doing the most and especially what makes them feel most welcome to a new city! It also made me realise that art and theatre can bring people together no matter where they came from or what their backgrounds are.  

    “In this project we had participants from a range of countries and cultures – they mentioned that they loved the fact that we gave them a space where they can get to know each other. As one of the participants mentioned, she has been living in York for the past seven years and she has never had the opportunity to take part in any sort of activity like this. So I think it’s quite important to keep this workshop going.” 

    The project proved successful in bringing sanctuary-seeker communities in the city together, developing community belonging, improving wellbeing, and increasing engagement with cultural activity. 

    Amanda Smith, Executive Producer and Joint-CEO of Pilot Theatre, said: “The support from Make It York enabled Pilot Theatre and our partner organisations to actively engage with the local sanctuary-seeker communities of the city by offering free creative activities in welcoming and accessible locations. Bringing people together in this way has helped to strengthen social connections, improve wellbeing and to develop creative skills.” 

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Pilot Theatre Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Artery for Health

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects supported by the grants was Artery for Health. Developed by heritage and cultural learning consultant Karen Merrifield and the Arts team at York Hospital, to create a proof of concept model to improve connections between healthcare providers, artists and cultural organisations in the city. 

    Two recent evaluations of arts interventions at York Hospital revealed healthcare staff and artists welcomed arts intervention with treatment, however, a better understanding of how healthcare professionals work with patients and what artists and cultural organisations can offer patients would be beneficial. Artists raised several areas where they need clarity and support. These include: 

    • The needs of the patient  
    • Expectation around arts and arts therapy 
    • If/How their arts practice complements the work of therapists working on the ward 
    • Delivery of sessions including preparation, timing, setting, delivery – one to one or performance-based session, choice of and place for music, infection control. 

    The Cultural Wellbeing Grant allowed Artery for Health to work with Allied Health Professionals to answer these questions. This included largely physiotherapists and occupational therapists who work with patients either as they move from being in-patients to out-patients, or those working with patients with chronic conditions. This focused on those specialising in chronic pain, stroke/neurological conditions and pulmonary conditions. 

    The first key finding was that healthcare professionals’ roles have changed hugely due to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. COVID 19 means staff are facing unprecedented challenges, including:  

    • Staff burn out and fatigue 
    • Staff shortages 
    • Changes in practice with many clinics moving to video or telephone consultation 
    • Relocation of services due to infection control. For example, Stroke Rehab has moved from Scarborough Hospital to Bridlington 
    • Patients in individual wards to minimise the risk of infection but this leads to a lack of social interaction which can affect recovery 
    • Strict control over who can go onto a ward. With restrictions on family and friends  
    • Through COVID 19 it has not been possible to offer arts interventions in the hospital. 

    These findings show that old ways of working in the NHS are gone however this provides a timely opportunity to explore how to work more closely with arts and culture. 

    Artery for Health ran workshops in the autumn, bringing cultural organisations, artists and healthcare professionals together to explore further how to work together, offering local artists opportunities to join existing educational programmes by Allied Health Professionals. These conversations were shared with the Northern Powerhouse group of arts teams in hospitals and there is a strong interest in taking this model forward. 

    The next steps are pilot projects around: 

    Stepping-stone  

    Artist taster sessions informed by patients and AHPs to support meaningful and purposeful activity, relating arts to existing education or treatment programmes. These are designed to support patients with chronic and respiratory conditions to self-management.  

    Community Culture Club 

    A carousel of activities from cultural partners for long covid, chronic pain, pulmonary, neurology and stroke patient groups, social groups and AHPs e.g., the National Railway Museum. 

    Art Residencies  

    Artist in residence, working across the Trust to improve communication for patients and staff, on a staff-led project. 

    Embedding learning 

    Co-ordinate a joint learning day with York St. John University, where OTs students, hospital staff and academic staff explore how arts and culture can support their health and wellbeing. 

    Additional opportunities with York St John University include: 

    • Research project for third year students (Students decide on research projects in Year 2 e.g., Dance with patients on the Dementia ward, lockdown projects – arts to support wellbeing) 
    • Work placements for students or OTs e.g., museum or other cultural venues 

    The Artery for Health project has also recently been awarded grant funding from the 2022 Cultural Wellbeing Grants, which will help in creating these pilot projects and continuing the work in bringing arts interventions to York Hospital.  

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Artery for Health Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Thunk-It Theatre

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects which has been supported by the grants was Thunk-It Theatre’s ‘Common Ground: Back in the Room’ – a project which aimed to highlight shared experiences felt during Covid and build long-term, meaningful relationships to combat loneliness. 

    The project aimed to engage with participants aged 16-25 and 50+ in The Groves area who had been affected by isolation and loneliness, particularly those who were isolated due to physical, financial or social barriers.  

    The project included 9 workshops that explored creative communications such as letter writing, origami, and postcard creation, all facilitated by industry leaders with experience of delivering successful intergenerational work. This then formed an exhibition, held at Door 84, for friends, family and the Groves community to see, enjoy and celebrate. 

    During the workshops, tools were used to encourage communication between participants, allowing them to reflect on the impact of Covid but also to look forward to the future together, through a shared piece of art and ownership.  

    338 people engaged across the different activities, with one participant saying, “I had great fun each week, the activities were all interesting and engaging and I always had a great cup of tea. The sessions were always a highlight of my week, it was great to get out the house to meet people and get involved!”  

    The team at Thunk-It Theatre said: ‘During the various lockdowns, we developed a number of virtual community projects which although successful, had one thing missing – face-to-face connection. With the funding from Culture and Wellbeing York & Ways to Wellbeing we were able to bring the successful virtual project ‘Common Ground’ to Door 84 in The Groves. Over a period of four months, we ran creative workshops for people aged 16-25, 50+, and workshops for anyone of either age to join. These sessions culminated in a pulling together of the work created as an exhibition, held at Door 84 for friends, family, and the Groves community to come see, enjoy, and celebrate. 

    This project showcased the importance of face-to-face connection and creative spaces. The funding enabled us to facilitate a safe and successful project for community members in The Groves. Thank you.’  

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Thunk-It Theatre Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Movers and Shakers Project

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects supported by the grants is Movers and Shakers – a weekly programme of music, movement and social sessions for adults across York. Participants were all adults from across the city living with a range of learning and physical disabilities, sensory impairments and/or consciousness disorders. 

    Across 24 sessions, 18 participants took part in fun musical games, movement activities, storytelling and dressing up. These were all led by participant interests, with participants being asked to choose which themes they’d like to explore before the sessions began. Each session also centred around a different participant’s favourite music to encourage them to connect and engage with the content. 

    Following the end of the programme, 100% of participants said the Movers and Shakers project made them feel happy and more confident, whilst 90% said the sessions helped them to make new friends. 100% of participants said that they feel more confident in making their own decisions and feel more independent. 

    Support workers also regularly commented on how participant behaviour positively changed throughout the course of the sessions, with comments such as: “E looks forward to coming and stands by the door waiting to come and always says she’s had a lovely time’’ and “B noticed the photo booth that Alison had set up, and stood up, ready for his turn without any prompting. This was fantastic as he doesn’t normally move around the room without encouragement.” 

    Rose Kent, Creative Director of Accessible Arts and Media, said: ‘Thanks to a grant from Ways to Wellbeing we’re thrilled to be able to re-start our Movers and Shakers group in-person – one of our most popular sessions prior to the pandemic. Covid-19 had left our participants isolated. Now that sessions have started back up it is fabulous seeing their confidence rebuild and supporting them to re-connect with their friends whilst supporting their wellbeing. The smiles on everyone’s faces each week is testament to this!’ 

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Movers and Shakers Project Read More »

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Next Door But One CIC

    As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS, and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation, and mental ill-health across the city. 

    The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation, and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

    One of the projects supported by the grants was ‘Keeping Hold of Creativity – Maintaining Artistic Skills and Connections Post COVID’ by Next Door But One CIC.  

    Next Door But One CIC are an award-winning LGBTQ+ and disability-led theatre company whose focus is to promote creative skills and encourage community cohesion, particularly for those who may face barriers when accessing theatre.  

    Next Door But One CIC launched many new projects as part of their participatory arts programme over COVID, so it was crucial that as they transitioned out of COVID restrictions the support and wellbeing of participants continued. A new programme was then created to act as a bridge into wider, in-person community events.  

    The new programme delivered:  

    • YorQueatre – 7 Youth Theatre Workshops for 14-25 year olds who identify as LGBTQ+ 
    • Young Carers – 5 Youth Theatre Workshops for young adult carers (18-25 years olds) 
    • Discover Playback Theatre – 7 Playback Theatre training workshops for adults with mental health problems 
    • Opening Doors – 8 professional development and mentoring sessions for performing arts workers at risk of leaving their career 

    In the YorQueatre workshops, all materials used were LGBTQ+ created or focused, whether that was the scripts used or the wider exploration of LGBTQ+ topics from contemporary culture (e.g. ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill). There were two main reflections from the workshops. The first was the importance of exploring queer narratives – art and creativity often come from lived experiences and so, by removing heteronormative material, participants were able to connect creativity with their identity. The second was the importance of a regular, safe space – many of the participants were juggling significant milestones, such as exams, university, or moving away from home, and so to create a space where participants could decompress and engage without judgement was crucial. 

    The Young Carers workshops worked closely with York Carers Centre, helping both to connect further with participants and members. The workshops often took place within York Carers hangout time slots, meaning if something was expressed in a session, support workers were then able to pick up the conversation in a 1:1 and follow up with support.  

    The Discover Playback Theatre workshops developed participants’ confidence in performing. This could be seen through new participants becoming actively involved as the workshops progressed, as well as through existing participants taking a proactive approach in supporting the development of newer participants. There was also a validation of experience with many of the participants saying they felt their story had been seen and heard, making them feel less alone or disconnected.  

    The Opening Doors sessions included a series of Q&As with Casting Directors and Festival Producers, creative retreats and 1:1 mentoring sessions. Reactions from this were positive, with all 17 participants commenting on a ‘real need’ for a supportive provision which would equip them with the skills and knowledge to develop their own career.  

    During the space of this programme, 85 participants were engaged with 87% saying that the workshops had surpassed their expectations. Participants commented on how they had been inspired to try something new and had more confidence in their own skills and abilities.  

    Matt Harper-Hardcastle, Artistic Director at Next Door But One CIC, says: “Even though they were still needed, as lockdown restrictions ended so too did many of the temporary provisions that had been put in place for some of the most impacted members of our community. LGBTQ+ young people still needed spaces that had been made safe and inclusive for them, young carers still wanted the variety of methods that had been created for them to access the services they need, adults with mental ill health still wanted to sustain online learning that had been established during lockdown, and performing arts professionals still needed support to ‘bounce back’ from the impacts of the pandemic. This grant enabled us to do that and because of its success we are still able to maintain all of that delivery. As a company our mission is to connect people to their creativity and community through the theatre we make and the stories we tell. Without a doubt this grant has contributed significantly to that and our ability to build on it!” 

    The funding from the Cultural Wellbeing Grant allowed Next Door But One CIC to continue their work throughout Winter/Spring 2022 and increase their reach, sustain their impact and fortify their partnerships with other organisations and community groups. This puts them in a strong position to continue their work into Summer 2022 moving forwards.  

    Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports Next Door But One CIC Read More »

    Sign In

    Register

    Reset Password

    Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.

    Skip to content