The Great Place: Lakes and Dales programme has been handing out grants to young people with creative ideas and businesses. They include arts organisation, Settle Stories, and a couple of Skipton based women with exciting plans for shared office space. Lesley Tate reports.

SETTLE Stories and Skipton based ‘co-working space’ Qworkery are among projects to share funding of almost £100,000 from the Great Place: Lakes and Dales programme.

The Heritage Lottery and Arts Council-funded programme, which aims to encourage more 16 to 34-year olds to live and work in the area, has awarded 16 grants in the first round of its seed funding scheme, with another round due to be announced very soon.

The arts charity, Settle Stories, has received funding to support an event management paid intern for eight months.

Charles Tyrer, the charity’s executive director, is an example of the younger generation the programme seeks to keep in the Dales. He is 28 years old, and has lived in the area since he was a teenager.

“I only have my job because I was lucky in volunteering with Settle Stories which grew into employment,” he said.

“All my peers who are into the arts are now in urban areas. I feel like there are few opportunities for young people to have a ‘proper job’ in the arts locally so this really matters. It is creating a real chance for somebody.”

The internship will offer a paid opportunity for a young person to work four days a week with the charity, which organises a festival as well as events throughout the year.

“We’re really excited to be welcoming a young person to work with us and are eager to be hear new ideas. Through the internship, they will learn a range of skills that will help them secure future employment in event management. The opportunity will give the candidate a chance to network extensively with other arts organisations and practitioners and be a brilliant springboard for a career in the arts,” said Charles.

Children’s author Katie Birks, who writes as Katie Daynes, and translator Anita Birch, of Skipton-based Qworkery, have received backing to set up co-working and sponsored desk space in the town.

“We noticed a demand for office space where freelancers and self employed could hot desk, either for half a day, a day or every day, “ said Katie.

“ As freelancers ourselves, we know the importance of having an inspiring, social space to work in away from home. Our newly refurbished offices will provide a relaxed and friendly workspace for a wide range of creatives, including two desks sponsored by GPLD specifically for 18 to 35-year olds to use. “

The grant will also go towards the marketing and branding the offices at 12b Otley Street to appeal to younger people.

Bentham-based artist Rachel Thornton is using her grant to set up an international creative exchange.

Rachel, who specialises in wood-based artwork and printing, as well as drawings and carvings, is working to set up an exchange with a Scandinavian-based artist. The idea is to visit each other, carry out school workshops and showcase their work in joint exhibitions. The focus is on learning from each other on how they make a living, what it is like to be a young creative in a rural area and sharing her experiences with young people here.

The Great Place: Lakes and Dales programme say there has been an overwhelming response to the funding scheme, with around 50 applicants being considered in the second round.

The funding, which aims to support entrepreneurial, creative business to attract and work with talented young people, was open to everyone from young start-ups, businesses and organisations to creative practitioners and students.

Manon Keir, GPLD programme officer, said: “We were encouraged and inspired by the quantity and quality of applicants for our Acorn and Branching Out funds. There’s a wealth of young creative talent in our area and we are really looking forward to working with our creative champions and seeing the projects come into fruition.”

The grant funding must be spent before the end of March 2020 when the GPLD programme ends.