Bedford Creative Arts receives funding for major Queen’s Park project

Clubhouse Summer Party 2018, Andy Willsher
Clubhouse Summer Party 2018, Andy Willsher

Bedford Creative Arts (BCA), working with the Higgins Bedford and bpha, has been granted major new funding of £78,000 towards a two-year creative project in Queen’s Park.

The funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Harpur Trust, alongside support from bpha and Arts Council England, will enable BCA and its partners to build on the successful Clubhouse project which ran on two streets in Queen’s Park from 2016-2018.

This new project will celebrate the Queen’s Park community’s rich creative talent.

Community groups and residents of all ages will be invited to collaborate with locally-based artists on a series of artworks exploring culture, cultural assets and “cultural capital” in today’s diverse society, sharing their work with the wider Bedford community.

The project will begin with a year-long research phase, led by working groups from local community members and artists.

This will include two projects that document and share the cultural capital in the community and also explore what makes a successful community.

Community members from across Queen’s Park will be invited to collaborate with the artists and in year two (2020) the project will extend over the bridge into Castle and Cauldwell wards to begin a community exchange.

Following the research phase, there will be an open call in early summer 2019 to invite proposals from local artists for the first two commissions.

The project builds on the Clubhouse project which began in 2016 on Chester and Carlisle Roads in Queen’s Park and developed into a year-long co-created filmmaking project with residents, working with artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou.

The project was seen across the UK in late 2017 when it was selected for a national TV campaign by project funder People’s Health Trust through the Health Lottery.

“This new two-year funding presents tremendous space and opportunity to explore how arts organisations, artists and communities in Bedford can co-create together to develop meaningful and resonant artworks that speak of place, connection and community,” said Annie Bacon, Creative Producer at Bedford Creative Arts, who developed the project.

“It’s about acceptance, respect, having fun, trying new things – that’s what Bedford Creative Arts has brought to Queen’s Park,” said Queen’s Park resident and member of the Clubhouse project, Bex Palmer.

“Thank you to Bedford Creative Arts for putting Queen’s Park on the map. Community comes together in every colour, age and size. Looking forward to this next project.”

Bedford Creative Arts’ Director Elaine Midgley said: “Clubhouse inspired so many new ideas from the residents and artists and this project takes these forward to an exciting next stage.

“We will be actively reaching out to people in Queen’s Park who wish to be involved in the project and hope that together we will learn so much about how culture is of tremendous value in shaping and bonding a community.”

Lucy Bardner, Community Programmes Director at The Harpur Trust said: “We are delighted to be supporting such an innovative project and understanding how culture can help build capacity, relationships and resilience in communities.

“It’s a very timely project for us as we are currently reviewing how we can develop our community work to deliver maximum impact for Bedford, so we will be paying close attention to the lessons learned.”


The project will run until April 2021.

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