Disclaimer: I just quickly want to say that I am not at all affiliated with Grimsby Creates or Spark Grimsby and I have not been asked to write anything about them. I have just been following their activity and whilst I am keen to express my fears about the projects, I do fully support the work they are doing for our town. My aim is to act as an independent voice from someone who is not directly connected with NELC or the project themselves.
For the past week, I’ve been following the work of Grimsby Creates and I wanted to share a few thoughts I have so far formed about the overall projects that I’ve seen so far.
The project is designed to focus on four key areas:
I know there’s typically a lot of disgruntled voices about a great deal of what our council tries to do for our town, but personally I think these are definitely the right areas to be focusing on.
We have an incredibly rich heritage, with roots firmly in the fishing industry which has sadly mostly disappeared, and I know most of us will be keen to celebrate the past that has made our town the icon that it is today.
The Food industry is now a big part of our industry, and we boast a number of factories including Youngs. A large amount of the food consumed across the country starts in Grimsby in some form, so it definitely makes sense to focus on this part of our present.
Planning for the future is also important, because as I said in my last post Introducing Spark Grimsby, I do think it’s important to build up the Creative Industry in Grimsby to encourage young people to study at the Institute and to stay here after graduation. We can only do that by looking to the future and creating jobs for them and/or the opportunity for them to advance their passion for the Arts.
Another key part of Grimsby Creates is the development of the Kasbah. For anyone who doesn’t know what the Kasbah is…
The Kasbah is an area on Grimsby Docks that is located close to the infamous Ice Factory and is made up of “docks, quays, transportation infrastructure, industrial facilities, and shops [that] became a bustling hub of commercial activity.”
For a long time, I’ve heard rumblings of regenerating this area, and as someone who was fortunate enough to visit the Kasbah during the Heritage Open Days in 2019, I am really interested to see what the future holds for thus beautiful and sadly neglected part of our town.
I think it’s great that creatives are being encouraged to be a part of the plan for this area in particular, because of its deep roots in our history.
Keeping it Local
One of the biggest questions I have had since I first heard about Grimsby Creates has been whether this would truly be aimed at putting money into the local economy in the manner of supporting local businesses by creating opportunities aimed at locals, rather than giving the money to out-of-town businesses. I know this is something that many of us will feel strongly about.
Luckily, this question was answered in the Tender Masterclass Spark Grimsby ran, and I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed that businesses from anywhere can apply for associated Tenders. It just feels a little frustrating that money designated to supporting the growth of Grimsby will go into the pockets of people who won’t entirely spend that money in Grimsby; their paid staff might not be local, so they won’t be spending that money in local shops.
However, whilst I was a little annoyed at this, I do acknowledge that it was stated on several occasions that all businesses who apply for Tenders will be encouraged to collaborate with local people which I think we can all agree is a very positive thing, as at least some of the money earned from projects could go to local people.
The current lack of support for the Arts in Grimsby means that locals perhaps don’t have the resources available to them to offer as much to projects as businesses from further afield. Therefore, I fully support the assistance of outside businesses provided (and I say this very firmly) that those businesses do work very closely with local individuals and businesses, to offer support that truly goes into our area; creating real long-term jobs that will impact the future of our town.
Nevertheless, I do feel strongly that tenders from purely local enterprises should be prioritised if they submit strong applications.