Liverpool city region will be one of ten areas around the country to pilot the Government’s £25 million Find your Talent programme giving young people the chance to encounter a range of high-quality cultural experiences for five hours a week both in and outside of school.

Children in Liverpool, Knowsley and St. Helens will work with the world class arts organisations on their doorstep to discover and develop their talents in the cultural sphere. 

Led by National Museums Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the programme will cover the city region and has been developed in partnership with the leading arts institutions in the city including The Bluecoat, FACT, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Tate Liverpool and the Unity Theatre. Principal partners include Liverpool Culture Company, Creative Partnerships Merseyside, Liverpool City Council, Knowsley MBC and St. Helens MBC.

The Liverpool bid was one of 141 applications.

Chair of the Liverpool Phil and Trustee of National Museums Liverpool, Lorraine Rogers said:

Along with our Liverpool Arts Regeneration Campaign (LARC) and public sector colleagues, National Museums Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are delighted to be lead partners in the Find Your Talent Liverpool City Region programme. This significant funding will help us to continue driving forward our ambition for every child and young person in our region to have access to world class creative experiences. It will enable us to build on the momentum of Liverpool 08, and develop the future creators and innovators to strengthen the social, economic and cultural life of the City Region.

Through Find your Talent young people in Liverpool will have the chance to perform on stage and attend top quality performances, exhibitions at museums and galleries, and heritage sites, learn a musical instrument, take part in a musical performance in front of an audience and develop art and craft skills.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said:

Find Your Talent is a truly exciting initiative that could open minds and change young lives. Enjoying and exploring culture and the arts is not a luxury, or an add-on, for young people.  It matters in its own right, and can be a way of developing essential life skills like communication and creativity, and contribute to personal development and self-esteem. Too many young people still leave school without ever really finding out what they could be good at: the things that could be the basis of a fulfilling life.

These pilots will kick off the long process of putting that right. Their importance cannot be overstated.

I’ve been encouraged by the quantity and quality of the applications we’ve received since we first launched this initiative. The level of interest proves the cynics wrong and shows this scheme has struck a chord with many. It would be a real shame if this momentum was now lost, so we will also be looking at ways to harness that energy, and I hope to have firm proposals to do that in time for the pilots’ launch in September.

Children Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls said:

Giving young people the opportunity to take part in cultural activities will not only enrich their lives – but also help them learn. Schools already offer many cultural activities in school hours, for example in music, art, and English in the curriculum, and there is already much cultural activity taking place outside school and beyond the school day. The five hour offer is about building on this and giving all children and young people the opportunity to take part in cultural activities.

The pilots will explore different approaches to making a reality of Find Your Talent. We will work closely with schools as the pilots are taken forward to ensure a bureaucracy-light approach. But it is not just about schools: a whole range of bodies including museums, theatres and local arts organisations will be involved, working in partnership with schools.

Notes to Editor

Contact: Joanna Rowlands, Communications Manager, National Museums Liverpool. E-mail: Joanna.rowlands@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. Call: 0151 478 4779.

The Find Your Talent initiative was originally announced on 13 February 2008 by the two departments.  Details can be found in DCMS News Release 009\08.

The other organisations chosen to pilot the scheme are Bolton Borough Council, The Creative Foundation (serving Shepway District and including Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh), Customs House (North and South Tyneside), Hampshire County Council, Leeds Children’s Services, Leicestershire County Council, North Somerset, Telford and Wrekin Council and Tower Hamlets.

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