Grants worth over £38,000 awarded in third round of Mayflower 400 Community Sparks funding

 Fifteen different community groups have secured grants that will bring their projects to life in the third round of funding from ‘Mayflower 400 Community Sparks’.

 From music and performance, to exhibitions and events, to murals and mosaics, the projects will benefit from an overall investment of £38,473 from the scheme, which was set up to support grass-roots community, arts and cultural activity in the city.

 All the projects will be delivered by November 2020, connecting many of the city’s neighbourhoods with the Mayflower 400 anniversary and ensuring that a range of diverse and inclusive events are part of the Plymouth’s extensive commemorative programme.

 These new awards bring the total number of projects funded by ‘Mayflower 400 Community Sparks’ to an amazing 43!

The life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, an important figure in the early links between Plymouth and America will take centre stage in an extra-ordinary community production. Ernesettle residents will create, act, build props and steward this performance free to local residents. The award of £5,000 will be managed by Four Greens Community Trust. 

North Star Study Group has secured £3,948 for a touring educational digital resource exploring contemporary narratives around migration and home.

 Hamaoze House has been given £3,000 to create ship’s figure head of planting and trading post activities. The trading post established in an unused part of the building will provide a place to trade stories, history and experiences as well as explore Plymouth’s maritime legacy.

£3,000 will help Prime Skate Park’s Youth Forum explore skate culture through art with the aim of improving the public’s perception of skaters. 

Mayflower Our Voice will be honouring the reconciliation work currently being done in Canada. £3,000 will pay for an exhibition, talks and workshops about the experience of First Nations people.

Plymouth Design Forum’s (PDF) Mayflower 400×400 Design Challenge has been encouraging local artists and designers to produce artworks inspired by the Mayflower past and present. £3,000 will support PDF to produce an exhibition of the top 400 entries.

Plymouth & Devon Racial Equality Council’s Integration Group has secured £3,000 for its ‘Welcome?’ project, which will design and produce a series of garments and artefacts reflecting on colonialism and the impact it’s had on their cultures.

Plymouth Folk Roots have been awarded £2,925 for a two-day folk weekend celebrating the life of folk legend Cyril Tawney’s both as a Royal Naval seaman and a folk singer/song writer in Plymouth. The festival will coincide with the 90th anniversary of his birth on October 12, 2020.  

Efford Community Network and High View School will receive £2,900. The community, led by the local school will produce a film exploring the values of Mayflower 400. Young people will examine what the themes of freedom, humanity, imagination and future means to them and their neighbourhood.

Another grant of £2,900 will support the Signing Choir in Plymouth. Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and hearing signers aged nine to 86 years young will learn and rehearse six songs translated from English into British Sign Language for the ‘1000 Voices Big Choir Event’ at the Mayflower 400 Ceremony on Plymouth Hoe next September.

YMCA Plymouth have secured £2,850 to host a Mayflower Mural Project for young people and residents in Honicknowle. In partnership with Plymouth College of Art, a series of workshops for community groups will create a public mural that will be installed on a large wall overlooking the YMCA community garden.

Did you know that Turnchapel Dockyard was used by the US 29th division troops as a debarkation point for the Normandy landings in June 1944?  £1,300 will go to Turnchapel History Group to produce a film celebrating 400 years of history of this little know corner of the city. 

In a tradition extending back to the 1950s, the Pembroke Street estate has held streets parties. £1,000 will fund a big Mayflower-inspired get together along with creative sessions with the local youth group in the run up to the event to create fancy dress costumes and cardboard tall ships.

Artist Kate Entwistle has been awarded £900 to commemorate everyday people. Her ‘Pink Plaques’ project highlights the fun, cute and bizarre memories of Plymouth through temporary plaques located around the city.

The people of Millbay and residents of Mayflower Court will benefit from a unique garden mosaic celebrating the journey of the Mayflower and the maritime history of Plymouth. To make this happen the Abbeyfield Society has been awarded £750.

Hannah Harris, CEO, Plymouth Culture said: “The quality of applications for this round was very impressive and there’s a real energy amongst local communities to engage with the Mayflower anniversary. This made the job of selecting projects challenging but those who’ve been awarded funding represent a diverse range of proposals, all of which will respond to the Mayflower 400 commemorations in their own unique way. These projects will ensure that the Mayflower programme of activity reaches into every community and offer opportunities for some brilliant and meaningful engagement.”

The fourth round of funding is now open. Community grants of up to £3,000 are available with grants of £5,000 in exceptional circumstances. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2020. 

More information and an application form can be downloaded from

For help and support with your project idea contact Fiona Evans at Vital Sparks on  


 ‘Mayflower 400 Community Sparks’ is a partnership between Mayflower 400, Plymouth Culture, Plymouth City Council, The Box, Plymouth and Vital Sparks.


Hannah Harris has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Plymouth Culture, Plymouth’s Arts and Culture Development Agency.

Hannah joins Plymouth Culture from her role as Director of Development at Plymouth College of Art. In this role she initiated numerous partnership projects, both nationally and internationally, focusing on arts education, talent development and business start-ups within the creative industries. Having worked in the city for over ten years, Hannah has initiated a number of cross city partnership projects and has already made a significant contribution to the development of arts and culture. Hannah has a background in business development and cultural management and has worked in the community, public and private sectors.

Hannah says: “I am delighted to be taking up the role of CEO of Plymouth Culture and welcome the challenge and opportunity it presents. Plymouth is an incredible city, with hidden depths, and it is important that it receives the recognition it deserves. I want to ensure that Plymouth Culture continues to be an organisation that helps build a robust infrastructure in which artists, communities and creative businesses thrive, as we build our reputation as an international city of culture.”

Professor David Coslett, Chair of Plymouth Culture, welcomed Hannah’s appointment. “Plymouth Culture has played a key role in enabling the city to develop an ambitious agenda for culture. It is now a major part of the city’s growth strategy, drawing in significant investment and providing transformative cultural opportunities for communities. Culture is also a central feature of the city’s visitor economy. I know Hannah will ensure we remain a confident, forward looking city as we set the stage for the next ten years of culture strategy.

Professor Coslett paid tribute to Plymouth Culture’s outgoing Director, Dom Jinks, who was pivotal in drawing in Arts Council investment into a number of Plymouth arts organisations and was a prominent figure in shaping Plymouth’s 2020 year of Mayflower celebrations. “We are fortunate to have so many individuals, organisations and institutions backing the city council’s commitment to a culturally inclusive city, working to benefit all of its communities.”

Listen to an interview with Hannah Harris, the new Chief Executive of Plymouth Culture, on BBC Radio Devon (interview starts at 2:21)