8 October 2014 at 7.00am | Comment on this article
The Royal Opera House Bridge has now been in place for more than two years working to increase opportunities for children and young people in our region to connect with great arts and culture. We’ve been networking, co-investing, partnering and collaborating with schools and cultural organizations across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, North Kent and Essex.
We were recently awarded an additional three years funding from Arts Council England, allowing us to continue our work until 2018 but in order to look forward to growth and further development, we must first look back. We've created a map to share just a few of the projects we’re working with, and today, we launch our 2013/14 Annual Review.
We wanted to take this moment to share some of our headlines. For example, did you know that we’ve worked with 72 young cultural ambassadors to help them develop links between their schools and cultural organizations? Or that we’re working with Kent County Council to commission arts and cultural providers to improve public health? And that we’ve driven over 13,000 miles and been on 286 train journeys to meet our partners in fish and chip shops, boats, living rooms and film studios?
Over the last year, we’ve invested in 12 new partnerships committing £291,000 to programmes including the ‘Inspire’ Programme in North Kent and Pop up Projects which reached 5,140 pupils in Canvey Island and Thurrock.
We’ve also worked with Portas Pilot towns, working with more than 75 local artists and creative organizations and resulting in over 17,000 residents taking part in local cultural activities.
We recognize the importance of collaborative networks and support organizations and so have invested in the Bedford Culture Network who are nurturing links between cultural and education providers to strengthen the overall provision in the area.
We’re excited about what the future holds for arts and culture across our region as we see an increase in doorstep opportunities for young people to engage with cultural learning. We are incredibly proud of our achievements so far, and you can read more about them in our Annual Review. I hope you enjoy reading more about our work, and finally, my thanks go to the Bridge team and all our partners for all their enthusiasm and hard work over the last two years.