Celebrate & Illuminate


Celebrate and Illuminate!

December is our Celebrate and Illuminate theme and organisations across the county have not let us down! 

Secret Society of Hertford Crafters

Once again, The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters (SSOHC) combined a festive activity to bring the Christmas spirit to Hertford and Ware residents, shoppers and businesses …. Whilst raising money for two local charities, Carers in Herts and Citizens Advice Bureau, East Herts.

SSOHC yarnbombed 40 Royal Mail Postboxes with festive toppers; 27 in Hertford, 11 in Ware [plus one shop as the Post Office in Martins has had to close], 1 in Watton at Stone and 1 in Van Hage Garden Centre and you can find the locations of them all on their website:  www.ssohc.co.uk

If you would like to donate, please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YarnBomberXmas

Festive Streets, Playing Out St Albans

Neighbours and community groups all over St Albans District created colourful decorated windows in their streets this festive season as part of a new community project designed to help neighbours celebrate together with social distancing.  The Festive Streets initiative was organised by Playing Out St Albans District, part of the environmental charity, Sustainable St Albans.

Lesley Flowers, trustee of Sustainable St Albans said:
“Like our Playing Out scheme, this project helps neighbours get to know each other and it seems to have captured people’s desire to show their community spirit at this difficult time.”  Over 300 people signed up with at least 60 streets creating decorated windows.

Each Festive Street was run at street level with neighbours reaching out to nearby houses in a socially distanced way and inviting people to join in by decorating a window or simply enjoying the display.  Some streets are organising charity donations with their Festive Streets project: some collecting food for local foodbanks; others with online donation pages.

Festive Streets have pulled together a gallery of all the fabulous designs have a look here: https://sustainablestalbans.org/festive-streets-gallery/ PHOTO credit for images above (clockwise L-R, starting top left): Paulo Caracciolo Bond; Carol Rule; Cavendish Road, Tonand Tanna; Cowper Road SSA1; Cowper Road SSA9; Centre: Carol Rule

Electric Umbrella's The Big Light Up!

YOCI and hundreds of others across Hertfordshire enjoyed a wonderful Christmas sing-along as part of Electric Umbrella's amazing Big Light Up!  Hertfordshire's learning disabled community shared their fabulous voices and most importantly their ability to have fun!  Thanks so much for having her.  

Hertsmere Window Wanderland

InspireAll, who manage events in partnership with Hertsmere Borough Council, teamed up with Elstree and Borehamwood town council, Aldenham parish council, Bushey Festival, Christmas in Potters Bar and Family Centre services Hertsmere to bring the very first Window Wanderland to the borough.  This fun family-friendly event saw communities across the borough create illuminated displays in windows using street-facing windows of their homes, businesses, schools and nurseries.  The formal event took place across the 19th and 20th December but many displays could be seen throughout the festive season.   Hertsmere Borough Council joined the event by displaying all the entries to the Mayor's Annual Seasonal Card competition to create an eye-catching display.  YOCI herself gave the mayor a helping hand to judge the competition! 

Dacorum Festive Lanterns

Isolated artists from Nimble Crafters, supported by Community Action Dacorum displayed their decorated lanterns in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead from 15th December until 4th January 2020. Their work was shown alongside creations from Open Door Berkhamsted and Dacorum Supported Housing.

Watford Diwali Celebrations

Although traditional celebrations couldn't go ahead this year, November saw Watford Town Hall, Watford Museum and Watford Palace Theatre lit up in honour of the great festival of light, Diwali.   

Isolation Arts Café

What does a local Arts Team do when on furlough during a global pandemic?  In St Albans, they voluntarily used their own time to start a facebook group to keep the local artistic community together! The Isolation Arts Café page on Facebook was launched on the 20th March 2020, just before the national lockdown began, as a way to share performances, poetry, art work and other creative contributions of all kinds from artists and local creative people in the St Albans area.

Since then, the group has gone from strength to strength and now has 1.9k followers, has hosted over 20 live gigs and has had literally thousands of creative contributions with no signs of slowing down.   We’ve picked just a few examples of contributions made to the group, but there’s so many to choose from – visit their page to have a browse! Isolation Arts Cafe | Facebook

Photo Credits: Clockwise starting top left: Nic Madge, Pandemic Portraits; Kingfisher, Steve Shand Photography; Penny Nichol, Blue Paintings; Alan James, Love During Lockdown

I Am Alban Receives a Prestigious Nomination

A choral piece entitled ‘I am Alban’ by composer Anne Dudley, which received its world premiere at Hertfordshire Music Service’s (HMS’s) School Gala in March, was nominated for the prestigious Ivors Composer Award 2020.

As part of its commitment to championing new music, ‘I am Alban’, composed by Anne Dudley with lyrics by Ian McMillan, was commissioned by HMS especially for the Hertfordshire Schools’ Gala 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall.  The piece based on Saint Alban was nominated in the Ivors Academy Composer Awards in the category of Community and Participation.  The final winner of the award, announced on Radio 3 on 1 December, was Oliver Vibrans – More Up.  

Cllr Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Education, Libraries and Localism said: “The fact that this important work has been nominated is great news and demonstrates HMS’s commitment to involving Hertfordshire school children in performing the most exciting and inspiring music from such great composers as Anne Dudley."

Michael Taylor, Chair of the Hertfordshire Music Education Hub Forum, said: “We are passionate about ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to discover their own unique ‘musical voice’ and to express themselves though the language of music.  'I am Alban’ was the highlight of the Gala. We are enormously proud of all the schools who took part and grateful to Anne for providing such inspiring music."

The Hertfordshire Music Education Hub benefits from funding from the Arts Council of Great Britain and in turn supports HMS as lead partner to provide access, opportunities and excellence in music education for all children and young people. Rufus Frowde, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gala said: “Hertfordshire Music Service has had the privilege of commissioning prominent composers for a number of years. 2020 was certainly no exception and the thousands of young performers at our Gala were enraptured by the energy and message of Anne Dudley and Ian Macmillan’s dramatic cantata ‘I am Alban’. I am so pleased that the relevance of this collaboration in our modern society has been recognised in a richly-deserved nomination, which also bears testimony to the ambition, vision and artistic potential of our music service.”

Anne Dudley, composer of ‘I am Alban’, said: “At the Royal Albert Hall it was wonderful to see over 2500 young people engaging with a story that was over 2000 years old. I hope that many of them will have lasting memories of the day and felt the joy of participating in a musical performance in an iconic venue."

The biennial Gala event was part of the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 and celebrated the music-making in primary and secondary schools across Hertfordshire.  The massed primary and secondary school choirs performed alongside the County Youth Choir and Hertfordshire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra with additional performances by instrumental and dance groups from the secondary schools.

HMS now offers a blended learning solution for all its services to ensure children in Hertfordshire can access high quality music-making. This involves mixing online and face-to-face learning so that tuition remains consistent and musical progress can be maintained, no matter what the circumstances. To find out more about music lessons or ensembles go to our website www.hertsmusicservice.org.uk.

For more information about HMS music lessons go to www.hertsmusicservice.org.uk. The website also has an online resources section with links to inspiring and fun musical activities to do at home www.hertsmusicservice.org.uk/resources.  

#TAG Dancing through Lockdown

In celebration of Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020, specialist dance agency BEEE Creative has developed and managed a year-long dance project, #TAG; with funding from Arts Council England and support from Local Authorities in Dacorum, Three Rivers and Watford.  The Project enabled local families with no previous dance experience to find creative freedom in collaborating online from the comfort of their own home. To dance despite the restrictions of lockdown. 

The project involved seven professional artist-led commissions including over 64 workshops, engaging over 270 local residents and celebrating people and places across Hertfordshire. Works created include contemporary dance, film, animation, and music. 

Photo Credit: Simon Richardson

Highlights of the programme included: 

  • makeAMPLIFY worked alongside Hertfordshire dance artists, to lead families in the making of a playful community-inspired dance film.
  • KAN Collective created a professional and community cast, collaborative dance animation film, inspired by sign language.
  • Laura Chiabolotti led intergenerational dance and music group, Improvising Generations, alongside composer Matthew Smith and filmmakers Dominique Rivoal and Claire Loussouarn, to create a dance film all about the reminiscence and recreation of play.
  • #TAG’s oral history project, developed with the University of Hertfordshire, created an oral history podcast, incorporating stories from local residents on their memories of play as children growing up in the area.
  • Professional artists from a wide range of dance sectors led local dance practitioners in a series of webinars, to support professional development and provided opportunities for mentoring.
  • Tim Casson of Casson & Friends developed a local schools project, inspired by his exciting new ‘Alexa Project’.

And so, in culmination of a jam-packed year of activity, Think About It Films have created a final celebration film, capturing all things #TAG.  We hope you love it as much as we do!


We Are...Creative Hertfordshire

If HYOC2020 has taught us one thing, is that there's strength in a collective community. 

The campaign has provided us with opportunities to start conversations and reach out to new and existing partners across the community and statutory sectors.  We also know that many of the cancelled events for 2020 have been rearranged for 2021 and we wanted to find a way to support that, whilst also harnessing the increased interest in the creative sector as part of the legacy of HYOC2020. 

The 'We Are Creative Hertfordshire' campaign aims to do just that, whilst maintaining and growing support for the Creative Hertfordshire website, our What's On Guide for HYOC2020 and the online hub for Hertfordshire's Creative community.  The number of people visiting the website throughout the campaign has grown significantly to the point where over 2700 people receive its newsletter, which shares information on creative people, places and events every week.  

The campaign is all-encompassing, designed to demonstrate the breadth and depth of art, culture and heritage in Hertfordshire.  It aims to show that whether you are a venue, a council, a creator, a performer or a consumer, you are part of what makes a creative Hertfordshire.  Any organisation involved in the creative sector within the county can use the logo and resources provided by the website to promote their activity and also to continue to explore the links that have been made within local authority areas and with local arts officers.  A range of promotional banners will be available to borrow from your local authority and YOCI the mascot will be getting a new outfit and will still be available to attend events both online and in-person when restrictions allow. 

You can access the logo as of now directly from the We Are Creative Hertfordshire page on Creative Hertfordshire and information about how to get involved will also be posted on this page - so what are you waiting for, let's show everyone that WE ARE CREATIVE HERTFORDSHIRE! 

Save The Date - HYOC2020 Celebration Event!

A Look Back... January - March

January to March – Try Something New, Workforce Development and Access the Arts

In January we ‘Tried Something New’ by joining in the daily #JanuaryChallenge from 64 Million Artists.  February saw us finding ways for ‘Skills Development’ whilst celebrating our fabulous volunteers whilst during March we all ‘Accessed the Arts’, culminating in the fantastic Hertfordshire Music Service Schools Gala which saw 2,500 young people gathered in the world famous Royal Albert Hall to sing, dance and play their instruments to a packed audience of parents and dignitaries. YOCI our mascot enjoyed herself too!  

A Look Back... April - June

April to June – Go Somewhere Local, The Big Outdoors and Big Ideas

National lockdown meant ‘Go Somewhere Local’ became everyone’s mantra for April. We launched our What’s ONLINE section on Creative Hertfordshire, clapped for carers and saw the Secret Society of Hertford Crafters use their skills to support local charities as they crocheted and auctioned off miniature key workers! During May the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust showed us how to celebrate the ‘Big Outdoors’ by being #WildatHome and in June the ‘Big Idea’ saw the flagship University of Hertfordshire Festival of Ideas move online allowing us to bring over 60 speakers and events into our homes.

A Look Back... July - September

July to September – Cultural Olympiad, Families and Friends, Heritage and History and Meet the Maker

In July, pupils enjoyed the ‘Cultural Olympiad’ by taking part in the virtual Herts School Games and keeping in the sporting spirit, we asked you to design an Olympic Kit for YOCI our mascot – the winning entry came from Harmoni Wearn, aged 7!  August saw us celebrating Hertfordshire Pride, dancing along to our Pride Playlist and considering just what ‘Friends and Family’ mean to us in our Creative Writing Competition. In September we ‘Met the Maker’ through Herts Visual Arts’ first ever Virtual Open Studios and celebrated our heritage assets with the HYOC2020 Museum Object of the Year, won by the fabulous Champion Skye Terrier Wolverley Chummie, from the Natural History Museum, Tring.   

A Look Back... October - December

October to December - Be Inspired, Get Back Into, Creative Minds and Creative Industries and Celebrate and Illuminate

October provided us with a brief opportunity to ‘Get Back Into’ our local creative venues and to reflect on the events of the summer by sharing stories as part of Black History Month including the beautiful mural anonymously drawn in Welwyn Garden City.  November saw us highlighting the contribution of the Creative Industries to our county and how local people can find their niche, and in December we’re sharing the wonderful ways that our community found ways to Celebrate and Illuminate the festive season and the amazing year we've had.   

Funding and Support

There is a range of funding available at both a local and national level to support organisations and individuals affected by the Coronavirus.  General information on all aspects of the crisis including links to the most up to date Central Government information, can be found via the County Council’s coronavirus pages.

Grants Online https://www.grantsonline.org.uk/coronavirus.html

Grants Online  have pulled together a comprehensive and regularly updated list of funding opportunities specifically related to supporting organisations through the pandemic which can be accessed on their website without a subscription.

Herts Sports Partnership https://sportinherts.org.uk/funding/funding-matters-newsletter-2/#content

HSP have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful and can be found on their website.  It includes information on local authority funding alongside other local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

Local Funding

Hertfordshire Community Foundation www.hertscf.org.uk/grant-making

Hertfordshire Community Foundation is an independent charity which manages a range of funding sources for local voluntary and community sector organisations.  For information on currently available funding visit their website. 

Hertfordshire County Council Locality Budget https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/how-the-council-works/locality-budgets/locality-budgets.aspx

You can apply to your local County Councillor directly if you are a local organisation who is offering support to those affected by the coronavirus.

Crowdfund Hertfordshire: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/programmes/crowdfund-hertfordshire

Crowdfunder are working with a number of partners across Hertfordshire, helping to make great ideas happen through a combination of expert crowdfunding coaching, events and grants. They are looking to support not-for-profit organisations working with local communities in Hertfordshire that aim to make communities stronger, more connected, capable, active, safer, fairer and more inclusive. For any queries relating to these funds please contact Hertfordshire Community Foundation at ana.siewniak@hertscf.org.uk

Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund https://www.visithertsbusiness.co.uk/get-involved/crowdfund-hertfordshire-small-business-innovation-fund/

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Visit Herts are working in partnership to offer small and micro businesses within the tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts and cultural sectors the chance to unlock match funding to help overcome the challenges of Covid-19.The £200,000 Hertfordshire LEP fund is administered by Visit Herts. Participating businesses will raise money for their project through pledges from their community and loyal customers. Once a business secures their target, successful applicants will be able to unlock between £2,000 - £5,000 in match-funding. To qualify, your business will need to be located in Hertfordshire and be a micro or small business primarily operating in tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts or culture sectors. You will need to demonstrate that your business has been affected by Covid-19 and how you would use the funding to adapt your current business to either operate during lockdown, or to adjust to post lockdown measures as well as clearly demonstrating that the adjustments you intend to make will help protect jobs directly within your business.

Locally you can find information and support for your organisation via your local Council for Voluntary Service.  You can also find out about volunteering opportunities to support others across the County via #TeamHerts

National Funding

BBC Children In Need Small and Large Grants Programme https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/grants/covid-19-funding-streams/

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Children in Need have temporarily broadened the types of applications they are accepting. They are currently offering funding that can be used more flexibly than usual. They are encouraging applications for:

  • Project delivery (Including staffing and salary costs)
  • Creative solutions to deliver much needed services
  • Organisational costs to support stability and adaptation. (Including the day-to-day running costs of an organisation as opposed to specific project costs)

All applications will have to show how this funding will make a difference to children and young people’s lives during this crisis.  Applications are not limited to one specific project and a request can be made for organisational running costs.

Tesco Bags of Help https://tescobagsofhelp.org.uk/

Tesco Bags of Help is offering grants of up to £1000 to support organisations working with children and young people.  In store voting is currently suspended.  Visit the website for more information. 

Aviva Community Fund https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/start-crowdfunding#criteria

Small charities and constituted community groups with innovative ideas that benefit their community can apply for funding of up to £50,000 for projects that build more connected, more resilient communities and give people the tools to become more financially independent. In response to the Covid-19 Aviva are temporarily opening up the Fund to projects that will ensure organisations can adapt or maintain critical services and infrastructure in response to the impacts of COVID-19. Projects must still relate to one of Aviva’s key funding areas.

Comic Relief (UK)  Capacity Building Grants Scheme https://www.groundwork.org.uk/apply-for-a-grant/national-grants/comic-relief-community-grants/

The Comic Relief Community Fund (England) is offering grants to grassroots community organisations with an income of less than £250,000.  There are two types of grants available to organisations whose work delivers on one of Comic Relief’s four strategic themes:

  • Children Survive & Thrive: projects that support children up to the age of 11 to reach their potential and have the best start in life.
  • Fighting for Gender Justice: projects that improve equality for women, girls and initiatives that help people affected by domestic violence, abuse or exploitation due to their gender.
  • A Safe Place to Be: projects that support people who are rebuilding their lives because of homelessness or forced migration.
  • Mental Health Matters: projects that support good mental health in communities, improve access to support and tackle stigma and discrimination.

Funding is available to help you develop your organisation through a Capacity Building Grant or to deliver projects through a Project Delivery Grant. This new and exciting programme aims deliver long lasting community driven change and we will work closely with successful projects to gather learning from the programme to share widely.

Sport England Active Together Programme https://www.sportengland.org/news/%C2%A31-million-crowdfunding-support-clubs-and-organisation 

Sport England has committed another £1 million to combating the impact of coronavirus by match funding money raised by sports clubs and community activity groups through the fundraising platform Crowdfunder. Through the ‘Active Together’ partnership with Crowdfunder Sport England are matching crowd funds of up to £10,000 raised by clubs and organisations hit by the coronavirus crisis. Clubs and organisations can sign up via the Crowdfunder website. They’ll then need to set their crowdfunding target and put in place incentives and rewards. Once 25% of the crowdfunding is met, Sport England will confirm the match funding – up to £10,000 – and can distribute the money within seven days of being raised.

New Project Funding & Loans to Support the Heritage Sector (UK) https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/new-project-funding-and-loans-support-sector-resilience

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has resumed accepting small and medium project funding applications and launched an interest free loans pilot.  The aim is to help the UK’s heritage sector respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Phase one will see the National Lottery Grants for Heritage programme reopen to applications for grants of between £3,000 and £100,000 for heritage not-for-profit and public sector organisations, and local authorities to build their resilience. Applications can be made at any time.

Heritage Recovery and Resilience Loans will also be available, providing sums of between £50,000 and £250,000 to not-for-profit organisations currently or previously in receipt of National Lottery Heritage funding looking to restart and develop their income generating potential. The deadline for applications is the 14th February 2021.

Phase 2 will start in February 2021 and heritage organisations will be able to apply for grants from £100,000-£250,000 and £250,000-£5 million.

Funding Available to Enhance the Cultural Impact of Arts Organisations (England) https://www.artsculturefinance.org/enquire/or email: artsculturefinance@nesta.org.uk  

Nesta, the innovation agency, has announced changes to its Cultural Impact Development Fund, which offers investment up to £150,000 for arts and culture organisations.  The Cultural Impact Development Fund, which was previously a loan fund, will now include grants up to 50 per cent of the total investment.

The £3.5m Fund has been restructured to make it more responsive to the economic shock of COVID-19 and aims to offer more flexible financial support to organisations as they adapt. The fund has been specifically designed to offer flexible finance to arts and culture organisations working with the people and communities in greatest need.

Arts-Based Learning Fund to Re-opens for Applications (UK) https://www.phf.org.uk/funds/arts-based-learning-fund/#purpose-of-the-fund

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Arts-based Learning Fund will re-open to applications on the 30th October 2020.

The Foundation will accept applications from arts organisations that are working with schools, colleges and other formal education settings to enhance the lives, development and achievements of children and young people through high-quality arts-based learning activities.

Charities, community organisations, social enterprises and not-for-profit companies can apply for grants of between £30,000 and £400,000 for two to three-year projects. The Foundation is particularly interested in funding work for the benefit of primary-age children and work taking place in areas of social and economic deprivation and inequality outside of London. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

A Guide To CH

Do you have an online event or activity that you'd like to share? Here's how:

1. Go to www.creativehertfordshire.com and click “Join Network” at the top right of the screen

2. Fill out your details and click “Join Creative Hertfordshire”

3. Once you have successfully created your account you will be sent a confirmation email. You must click the link in this email in order to activate your account, you will not be able to create a profile until you have activated your account.

If you do not see the email, please check your spam. If you do not receive this email after 1 hour, please email support@creativehertfordshire.com

1. Once you have created an account and are logged in, hover the cursor over the ‘Login/My Account’ button at the top of the screen.

2. From the dropdown menu, click ‘My Content’. This will bring you to a new page which gives you option to change your profile, list events, opportunities and more.

3. If you are adding an activity/resource that can be accessed at any time, please add it as an opportunity (‘My Opportunities’). If it is an event/activity that is date specific, please list it as an event (‘My Event’). Once you have selected opportunity or event, click the bold ‘add one’.

4.For listings added as opportunities, please fill in your opportunity details, including a link where possible. Click ‘Opportunity Categorisation' to expand the menu, selecting 'Online' as opportunity type. Then select 'add opportunity' at the bottom of the page.

   For listings added as events, simply fill in as much information as needed before selecting ‘Add Event’ at the bottom of the page.

This will then go to moderators to be approved. Please be aware that you must be Hertfordshire based and provide a Hertfordshire postcode.

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