Photo: the western end of Gosport High Street. Reproduced with permission from Gosport Cultural Consortium. Copyright Historic England Archive, James O. Davies.
Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
Gosport’s Heritage Action Zone status has helped produce another hefty financial bonus for the town’s High Street.
Gosport Cultural Consortium has secured a £100,000 grant to, “create and deliver a programme of community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.”
The money will be coming from Historic England’s £6 million High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme which operates in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Plans for spending the grant include a new programme of guided tours, heritage talks, a project to animate historic alleyways in the town centre, financing creative projects in and around the High Street, and opportunities for local producers and artists to sell their products.
There will also be a ‘First Timers Festival’ that will encourage people to have a go at something creative that they have not tried before.
The consortium is led by Hampshire Cultural Trust and has representatives from Bridgemary School, Gosport Heritage Open Days, Gosport Discovery Centre, Gosport Voluntary Action, Gosport U3A, and the Gosport Diving Museum.
This grant is in addition – and is complementary – to the £1.78 million obtained last year from the High Streets Heritage Action Zones fund to revamp the High Street and Stoke Road.
Welcoming the grant, Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: “Through this three-year programme, we want to use arts, heritage and culture to create earning and employment opportunities, to encourage more people from across all communities to get involved with cultural events and to help support the delivery of the HSHAZ programme, celebrating the renewed identity of Gosport’s high street and contributing to its long-term viability.”
Councillor Graham Burgess, the leader of the borough council, added: “From showcasing Gosport’s history through talks and tours, working with the local community on events and creative projects to telling stories of the old press gang alleyways, it’s going to be an exciting three-year project and we’re delighted Gosport has been awarded this cultural grant.”
To support the consortium’s bid for the grant, there have been a series of pilot cultural projects in Gosport during the last six months. These will culminate with a Makers’ Market at Gosport Gallery and SEARCH in the Old Grammar School – both at the western end of the town’s High Street – on Friday 28, and Saturday 29 May.
Entry is free but in these Covid-restricted times, pre-booking is essential. Places can be reserved at https://www.hampshireculture.org.uk/gosport-gallery.