As part of the the Great Place Scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England (ACE), Barnsley Council and Rotherham Council entered into a partnership programme aiming to use cultural activities around key heritage sites as a driver for local social and economic change in Wentworth and Elsecar.
The joint council bid was successful in winning a grant of £1,264,000 funding, supporting 4 three-year fixed term roles on the project running between May 2017 and 2020, with project work continuing until 2021:
- Project Manager,
- Youth Engagement Officer,
- Arts & Heritage Officer
- and a Project Support Officer.
The Great Place Wentworth and Elsecar Project (Great Place WE) activities focus on the rich heritage stories of these two South Yorkshire villages and are critical in achieving their ambitions of being recognised for their great potential as major visitor destinations, whilst also driving social change. The project aims to:
- Raise aspirations of young people in the local area and help them achieve their potential using new, innovative channels of engagement.
- Deliver a range of exciting cultural activity, inspired by the rich history linked to the fascinating Wentworth Woodhouse and Earl Fitzwilliam’s industrial empire at Elsecar.
Led by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, together with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in close collaboration with the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust and the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone, the Great Place scheme has delivered a number of cultural events, bringing nationally significant creative artists to Elsecar and Wentworth, working with local schools and members of the local community.
The project has supported several WE Wonder events, hosted at Wentworth Woodhouse, as well as the spectacular Man Engine performance in 2018, and the Puddlers Fair at Elsecar Heritage Centre in 2019.
Working with the Elsecar HAZ project, Great Place WE has also supported new community archaeological work at Milton forge, and by the Newcomen engine boiler house, as well as enabling Gemma Nemer to become Artist in residence at the Heritage Centre, a creative presence which together with landscape art funded by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, drove the wonderful decorations and carnival spirit seen during the Tour de Yorkshire’s stage passing through the village.