A lifeline for under-threat Arts project?

Producer Shona Thompson at the launch of the  Blaze FestivalProducer Shona Thompson at the launch of the  Blaze Festival
Producer Shona Thompson at the launch of the Blaze Festival
A LIFELINE is set to be thrown to a pioneering Arts project for young people which has its new home in Preston.

The Blaze project was originally set up by Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council in response to calls to create a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London Olympics.

One of its most memorable events was the Blaze Festival which formed part of the 2012 Preston Guild.

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But a report to councillors notes that, despite attracting some 1,231 attendances at creative sessions in county libraries in the last year and reaching a total audience of 40,708 people, it needs funding to keep afloat.

Now County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, is set to allocate £10,000 for the project - as long as Lancashire arts charity Curious Minds provides matching funding.

The cash handover is listed for decision on March 16 and Coun Johstone said the council was trying to secure Blaze’s future as a stand-alone organisation: “We are not in a position where we can carry on funding something like Blaze. Unfortunately we are having to make cuts we don’t want to make.”

He said the £10,000 would be “seedcorn” money: “It gives young people an opportunity to have an active involvement in the arts. It’s a county wide thing. The important thing is it is designed to help young people in deprived areas.”

Blaze has projects running in central Preston, Fleetwood, Skelmersdale, Hyndburn and Burnley and produces a quarterly magazine written and edited by young people called “Culture On A Shoestring.”