Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Florence Arts Centre is located in the old mineworkers shower block at a dis-used iron ore mine near Egremont, West Cumbria. The centre is community led and is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers. Our manifesto and aims are based on Ruskin's principle of the Mechanics Institute - art, music, creativity in all its forms is used to educate, inspire and provide nurture for the imagination.

FAC is unique in the area. We have space for exhibitions, performances, workshops, discovery and reflection.

Our workshop programme is an integral part of what we do and besides offering classes to the public we have already worked with and shared our facilities with the following local groups and community projects: Lakes College: Realising Our Potential, Frizington Primary School, Allerdale & Copeland Autism Support, Haven WI, Egremont Guides, Copeland Occupational & Social Centre, West Cumbria Dyslexia Association, Mayfield Special School, Whitehaven Rotary, West Cumbria Rivers Trust, OUTReach Cumbria, Workers’ Educational Association, Calderwood House, Skills 4 You and many more.

We have opened up the building to provide opportunities for affordable workshops in a broad range of disciplines and our workshops are an integral part of our exhibition programme. We have also recently developed two studios for local artists and entrepreneurs, we have space to socialise with like-minded people eg. knit ’n’ natter club, ukulele group and boardgames nights and we have a Paintmakers’ studio producing art materials from our own iron ore pigment, a locally-produced, artisan product, literally handmade from the West Cumbrian landscape. Our auditorium is a flexible space for live music, performances and film screenings. Education and entertainment go hand-in-hand at FAC.

But, much of what we do is reliant on the enthusiasm of our volunteers, goodwill of our workshop leaders and donations of art materials and secondhand goods.

With this funding we will:

- expand our workshop programme to offer an even more diverse range of subjects with artists and practitioners from across the UK
- hire a ceramics expert to offer regular classes giving the community access to a kiln and a meeting place for experienced and new potters
- offer FAC as a place for artist residencies for schools and Further Education establishments
- run a professional-led training programme in live sound engineering and live-streaming events, upgrading some of our outdated equipment to facilitate this
- increase the number of local musicians and singer-songwriters who perform with paid contracts either as headline or support acts, plus songwriting circles and music workshops
- improve access to our spaces and our facilities for all, renovating the classroom, buying accessible furniture
- purchase art and craft materials, books and IT equipment for the workshop
- open up our reference library to create a place for study with access to free internet
- secure the infrastructure of the building to keep the centre sustainable and safe for all with repairs to the fabric of the building

We plan to use apprenticeships and work placements where possible for all of the work, in particular in the refurbishment and operation of a new café area to provide a meeting place for the community and a sustainable business supporting local suppliers.

We will also use some of the award to set up a marketing and social media presence for the Florence Paintmakers, overhaul the website and give more people the chance to learn the centuries-old craft of paintmaking, alongside the 21st century art of marketing, social media and web design.

FAC is a vibrant and energetic place investing in life-long learning and skills for life, for everyone. Help us to continue by voting for Florence today.

Project Video

Egremont and Area Regeneration Partnership

Moment of Pride

I am constantly amazed at the level of commitment given by all those who volunteer to make the centre such a unique place to work. The quantity and quality of events and workshops is astonishing. Florence is a gem!

Location: Egremont, Cumbria, United Kingdom