A new project is being developed in an attempt to bring £2million worth of grassroots arts investment into Barrow.

Local community and arts groups have been meeting to put together a bid to Arts Council England to create four years-worth of events for the town in an attempt to change people’s perception of Barrow.

The groups seek to debunk such attitudes that claim Barrow is a town full of drug deaths and poverty and to focus on its positive dimensions, such as the people and places that make the area so unique.

Therefore, they have come up with some ideas that include filling empty shops with art, film and sculptures as well as a huge celebration parade in the town centre in an attempt to secure the £2 million investment.

Led by Women’s Community Matters, they are asking people to share their own ideas about the sorts of things they would love to see happening in the town.

Senior officer Rebecca Rawlings said: “We have a unique culture here and this project could give us the resources to celebrate and grow the best things about Barrow, through all kinds of arts and culture activities that everyone can get involved in.

"Right through February we’ll be trying to hear from as many people as possible about their ideas about anything creative and cultural they’d like to see happen.”

Maddi Nicholson, of project partner Art Gene, said: “This is a great opportunity for Barrow to capture some real investment to put on exciting things here, delivering the feel-good factor and giving people more reasons to love Barrow, live in Barrow and spend in Barrow.”

Barrow has been invited by the Arts Council to put in its own bid by March 21 setting out its dream-programme of events and initiatives.

Groups including Full of Noises, Signal Film & Media, Cumbria County Council, Brathay Trust, Natural England and Ashton Group Theatre have already been meeting to share their ideas and are now busy gathering more views.

Now a consultation survey seeking ideas for the project has been launched at: https://goo.gl/forms/FjdOVV0vQz6wlOgN2 and closes at the end of February.

Groups will also be holding drop-in sessions in February, which you can learn more about by contacting Rachael Capovila on 01229-825085. You can also join the project’s mailing list by emailing: barrowcreativepeopleandplaces@gmail.com