Ryde Town Council is delighted to reveal we have been awarded a £95,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Ryde High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years. Ryde HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme. Grants of up to £120,000 have been awarded to local arts organisations for cultural activity on each high street.

Waving the Flag is a three year project designed to support the growth and sustainability of Ryde’s much loved annual carnival. Through creative programming and increased opportunities to create props, costumes and floats that relate directly to the town’s heritage, the project will encourage audiences, new and old, to celebrate Ryde’s vibrant carnival traditions.

This is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”

Abi Wheeler, Creative Director of Ryde Arts CIC said: “Ryde Arts CIC are delighted to be leading the Waving the Flag project on behalf of the newly formed Cultural Consortium. We have a strong network of local partners who will be working together to combine an enormous wealth of knowledge and expertise with Outdoor Arts activities. After the disappointing setbacks of the last year, Ryde Carnival will be coming back to Ryde in 2022, stronger than ever.”

The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run since last August across 43 High Street Heritage Action Zones. Ryde’s pilot project, Spring Windows, engaged local organisations Network Ryde working with artists Teresa Grimaldi and Sarah Vardy, New Carnival Company and Shademakers UK to create window installations that explored aspects of Ryde’s commercial and cultural heritage. The pilot projects have not only helped high streets offer cultural activity during lockdown, but also discovered what local people would like to see happening on their high streets.

As well as the grant-funded cultural activity taking place on high streets over the next three years, Historic England is also curating a programme of cultural commissions to get people back to high streets. Ryde will be involved in the Twin Towns commission lead by artist collective Mooch:

TWIN TOWNS (MAY – SEPTEMBER) Isle of Rydesgate
Historic England is unofficially ‘twinning’ towns, through a programme of creative commissions that see artists working with local people to uncover what they have in common. The artworks will explore themes of identity as well as the communities’ collective hopes and challenges, culminating in a series of installations, performances and digital work.

Artist practice Mooch are working with local residents, and students at Broadstairs College for their project, Isle of Rydesgate, a fantasy town that twins Ramsgate in Kent and Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  In June, local people will be sent “craft kits” to decorate scale models of historic high street buildings, and from July to August there will be exhibitions of the model high streets in town centre shops in Ryde and Ramsgate.

For further information please contact: artsryde@gmail.com

To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @@RYDEHAZ @HistoricEngland #HistoricHighStreets and visit: www.HistoricEngland.org.uk/HighStreetCulture

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