Painting a picture of Great Grimsby’s past and what its future holds

2:30 pm, Thursday, 7th May 2020

A ‘shout-out’ is being made for people to get involved in a new heritage and contemporary arts project as part of the town’s regeneration work.

From today, individuals, groups and schools are being invited to register their interest in the ‘Our Haven’ project, being run by local arts organisation, Our Big Picture.

Named to reflect the Riverhead Haven and its foundations in making Grimsby ‘Great’, it is being funded through a mix of money from the Cultural Development Fund, central government and the Humber LEP.

Our Big Picture will be working with artists, designers, engineers and historians to create artwork for two town centre public spaces currently undergoing renovation – Garth Lane and St James’ Square.

Our Big Picture wants local people to inspire the work, by giving their views on Grimsby’s past, present and future heritage. Artwork will then be created that embeds ‘our culture’ within it – that being the thoughts, feelings and vision of local people.

Our Big Picture’s Paula Denton is encouraging as many people from the community as possible to get in touch and get involved, with different ways of achieving this being examined to overcome current restrictions.

The project will involve schools that will be contacted by Paula’s team, and once restrictions are eased, group workshops and public sessions will be held using Our Big Picture’s base in Top Town market as a central point.

“These are exceptional times and although we can’t go out into our communities as we would like to at the moment, we are looking at every opportunity to get people involved,” she said.

“There could be those with memories of what made Grimsby ‘great’, adults with childhood experiences of growing up in the town, or families and young people with their own feelings,” she added.

“We want to be able to draw on as many experiences and ideas as we can, to look at our cultural and future heritage, and how it can be expressed. We want people to think about, not only our town’s past, but also its future and how that will change, what will our future history look like and how will we view it.

“For example, when you look at industry and the docks, where there used to be fishing, there are now renewable industries – what could there be next and how will technology play a part?” Paula explained.

“We are all really excited about this project and with the help of the people out there, we have the ability to produce something very special of which we can all play a part and be very proud,” she added.

The Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic Society is already supporting ‘Our Haven’. Chair Alan Nicholson said: “North East Lincolnshire and the surrounding area is rich in its heritage and projects such as these go a long way in making people aware of this. This is something that our society strives to achieve, and we are pleased to support it.”

Grimsby Minister’s Community Projects Officer, Jo Middleton, is keen to see the Minster involved.

“Over the centuries as St James’ Parish Church, or Grimsby Minster as it is today, this glorious building has stood witness to the fortunes of the Borough reflected in the ebb and flow of life in the town centre. We are committed to the service and support of our local community and we welcome this exciting development. We’re planning to add value to the project with an expanding programme of events welcoming people into the Minster so that more people can enjoy this architectural, spiritual and cultural gem, and its precincts, at the heart of our town,” said Jo.

The re-invention of Garth Lane and St James’ Square, part of the Heritage Action Zone, is being project managed by ENGIE on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council. The Garth Lane work is being supported by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with funding released as a result of the Grimsby Town Deal and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Local Growth Fund allocation, as part of a wider scheme to unlock the potential of Grimsby town centre.

The main St James’ Square work is being supported by monies secured by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. The arts project is being supported by the Cultural Development Fund, (CDF). The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funds the CDF, which is administered by Arts Council England.

Anyone interested in the ‘Our Haven’ project is asked to email Paula: paula@ourbigpicture.co.uk.