Ignite Imaginations were regional delivery partners of the national somewhereto_ project from 2012 to 2015. Funded by the National Lottery and led by Livity, the project aimed to offer free and underused space to young people for their creative, sporting and cultural passions and introduce a path to certification to recognise the valuable skills acquired through participation, with a special focus on young people not in education, employment or training.
During the project in our region, Ignite engaged with 1100 young people from South Yorkshire and Humberside, matching more than 300 individuals to projects which suit them. Many of the young people were so enthusiastic about the project that they participated in a project and then came back to embark on new projects or expand from their original one. This has resulted in young people being involved in over 1200 projects in our region.
We have been lucky enough to forge personal and ongoing relationships with several young people and help them find the space to do the things they love, as well as supporting young people not in employment, education or training to find an ongoing opportunity, whether paid employment, education or training.
As well as providing space and publicity support we supported 15 young people with successful applications for O2 Think Big funding for their creative projects.
More than 100 spaces within the region were registered as somewhereto_ spaces, used for one or more times for creative projects through this programme. Some of these spaces including ongoing opportunities with Now Then Magazine, CADS and The Montgomery Theatre, which have provided a legacy beyond the lifetime of the project.
The most significant legacy of the project, however, was the impact it has on artistic and creative talent development, with some of the young people supported through this project going on to become artistic and creative leaders in our region.
Ellie Ragdale was supported by somewhereto_ to put on animation workshops. We helped her secure O2 Think big funding, find suitable venue space and then apply for O2 Think Bigger funding and develop her new venture, Handmade Cinema.
Artist Nicky Archer was a volunteer for Ignite Imaginations and wanted to curate her own travel photography exhibition. somewhereto_ helped her secure O2 think big funding for the exhibition as well as assisting her with promoting artist call outs and the exhibition itself, which was viewed by over 100 people.
Jess Dawson wanted to set up a clothing exchange and initially came to us to help her find a space to do this and for support setting it up. After the initial support we supported Jess for several years to develop Common Thread and deliver clothing exchange events at Sharrow Old Junior School.
Through somewhere_to, we also took the opportunity to run creative events, such as Light Night Sheffield, running alongside the Christmas lights switch-on. Light Night Sheffield delivered a variety of light-based exhibitions, performances, workshops and activities in spaces in and around Sheffield city centre We supported over 70 young people to fill these spaces with creative activities for the event. For a lot of the young people it was their first opportunity to get their creative work seen by a big audience.