PLANS to put Barrow on the culture map have been welcomed by councillors.

Representatives of the Barra Culture project, which recently won £1.9 million of funding from Arts Council England addressed a meeting of Barrow council’s executive on Wednesday.

Rebecca Rawlings, senior officer for Women’s Community Matters in Barrow, and the lead partner organisation of Barra Culture, updated councillors on the project, alongside Maddi Nicholson, a director of Art Gene and member of the Barra Culture team.

Cllr Shaun Blezard, the Labour councillor for Dalton South and a freelance musician, said: “I just want to say well done, this is fantastic news for the area. I know you have all worked very hard on this bid.

“This is a very exciting thing to happen and I have been involved in one at Blackpool which transformed some areas of Blackpool, and a friend has been involved in one in Bradford which had some really positive effects.”

Cllr Hazel Edwards, leader of the opposition Conservatives, also welcomed the news. “I would like to echo Shaun’s comments. I can’t help but be enthusiastic about this and I am sure I am speaking for all councillors. It will promote the town, not just culturally but in every way.”

The project will lead to five artists in residence every year in Barrow, between 10 and 20 arts events and commissions in ‘surprising new spaces’ and collaborations with world-class artists and companies.

The project requires match funding of £161,000 every year.

Ms Rawlings told councillors: “We have funding in place for four years but the budget extends at least 10 years. All the time we will be looking at how we can carry events on. We don’t want to have all of these fantastic things for four years and then it all goes away. We want Barrow to become a cultural destination where people come here to see and share in culture.”

Next steps include a six-month consultation and recruitment of four staff members to the team in early 2020 and then to draw up a business plan which needs to be backed by Arts Council England next summer.