West Midlands arts projects have been awarded £600,000 ($780,000/€660,000) in funding through a collaboration between the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Spirit of 2012.
Projects in Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry are set to receive £200,000 ($260,000/€220,000) each to create inclusive arts and cultural projects linked to the Commonwealth Games.
Collectively, they will work with more than 1,600 disabled and non-disabled people to explore links between communities and Birmingham 2022.
The projects will culminate in a series of performances during the Birmingham 2022 cultural programme, an arts festival running from March to September 2022.
It will include new work, installations, exhibitions, performances and major events across the West Midlands.
The funding is the product of a collaboration between the Olympic legacy funder Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022.
"This fund will support three inspirational organisations and, importantly, bring a much needed financial and moral boost to the cultural and charity sectors through uncertain times," said Raidene Carter, Birmingham 2022 cultural programme executive producer.
"Each project demonstrates the power of the arts in giving voice to some of our underrepresented communities across Birmingham and the West Midlands, bringing together hundreds of disabled and non-disabled people to create a series of exciting performance moments for the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme.
"Our collaboration with Spirit of 2012 is a wonderful example of Birmingham 2022’s ambition to create a Games for everyone.
"We’ve loved being part of the journey so far and I can’t wait to see how the creative ideas and incredible ambition for inclusion come together for the wider public to enjoy in 2022."
The organisations which will receive funding include Creative Black Country, which is set to run the project "Shine a Light".
This will build bridges between deaf, disabled and non-disabled people to tell stories of people around the Commonwealth.
Workshops will be delivered to 280 people, culminating in a touring performance and a series of films to share across the Birmingham 2022 cultural programme.
Caudwell Children will run project called "All Roads Lead to Alexander", delivering music workshops for young disabled people and their families in Birmingham.
In total, 1,000 people will take part in workshops and around 80 will tell their story of links and ties to Commonwealth nations and territories.
Warwick Arts Centre was awarded funding for its community cohesion project called "Playing Out".
This will be used to deliver a listening and storytelling project engaging with around 400 people, including those with long-term illness and disability, at community venues.
The project will culminate in the production of two carnivals.
"Disabled communities have been disproportionately affected by the impact of lockdown, so it is really exciting to be able to plan a series of workshops with hundreds of people across the Black Country over the next two years, as well as a touring performance and series of films to share during the Birmingham 2022 cultural programme," said Creative Black Country creative director Parminder Dosanjh.
"Arts and culture will be absolutely central to our recovery as a country, and funding like this will help us to do some inspirational work with deaf, disabled and non-disabled people across the Black Country just when it is needed most."