Dunstable High Street awarded £92,572 for cultural programme

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity is delighted to have been awarded a £92,572 grant from Historic England as part of the Dunstable High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

Historic England is also funding a role within Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity to co-ordinate and assist in the delivery of the cultural programme. The programme will be designed and delivered by the Dunstable Cultural Consortium in partnership with and led by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, the leading community development agency working across Bedfordshire. Ongoing support will also be provided by the Dunstable HSHAZ team at Dunstable Town Council.

Dunstable HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme.

The Dunstable HSHAZ cultural programme will include:

  • They Came to the Crossroads – the makers of Dunstable: looking at how incomers have shaped the town, including the buildings, high street, food and way of life. Story gatherers will be placed at locations in the heart of the town as well as visiting schools, colleges, churches and community groups. The new research and stories will be published.
  • High Street Talking Plaques: the aim is to begin with 15 plaques, each with a QR code enabling the passer-by to scan the code and listen to the story behind the plaque on their phone.
  • My Dunstable Art: an art trail in shop windows and an annual art competition for young people focussed on the town and its heritage.
  • Living Memory workshops and exhibition: hosted by The Workhouse, looking at memory and textiles.
  • The programme of activities will culminate in a two-day celebration held in Ashton Square, with live art, performances and live outdoor cinema.

This is part of the four-year-long High Street Heritage Action Zone’s Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.

Tony Calladine, Regional Director for Historic England in the East of England said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”

Cliff Andrews, Deputy Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity said: “We are really excited to have a lead role in this exciting new project for Dunstable.  Supporting local residents and groups to be engaged in, and proud of, their communities is at the heart of our work.  Celebrating the amazing heritage of Dunstable in ways which be of interest to local residents and visitors will help create a thriving High Street”.


To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @HistoricEngland / @HE_EoE #HistoricHighStreets and visit: 

For further information please contact:

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