“The Art B&B project is the people of Blackpool coming together to create change and a new self-sustaining micro-economy that re-invests in their own future. There is a real danger it could catch on.’
Michael Trainor, Director Art B&B CIC
Art B&B is the first project of its type coming from Blackpool’s creative communities to lead positive perception change for both visitors and the people who live and work there.
A Different Experience in Blackpool
Nationally, people are looking for a different experience for their stay in Blackpool, beyond the outmoded traditional B&B offer, which is currently proving unsustainable.
A Gap In The Market
We see a gap in the market for a high quality offer targeted at regional and national visitors (especially ‘cultural tourists’) who want to experience the best of Blackpool and the Fylde coasts extraordinary cultural offer at a price low in comparison to regional centres/cities although at the higher end of Blackpool’s current offer.
Art B&B is about utilising the best of creativity in the context of Blackpool’s unique and vibrant culture to develop a new business model that will sustain that culture, and those it employs, much more directly and effectively.
Culture Lead Projects
Art B&B is part of, and connected to, a growing number of culture lead projects that cumulatively are shaping the future and changing perceptions of the place and its communities.
We see Art B&B as a means to create jobs and develop creative transferable skills for people in Blackpool communities.
Local People in Community-Led Projects
The idea for Art B&B came from local people in community-led projects working with LeftCoast, an agency working with people as a catalyst for change.
LeftCoast supports people in Blackpool and the Wyre learning skills and participating in creative training programmes to increase employability. It invests in their talent, potential and creativity.
A group of 15 individuals living/working across Blackpool & Wyre set up a visioning session in 2014 and put forward their ambition for reimagining hospitality and the visitor economy and how it could be made to work better for those that live here – much needed in Blackpool. Their idea for ‘Art B&B’ (the Art Bed and Breakfast) was born. Community consultation sessions informed the development of the project and a panel of local people was set up and there is now a board of 10 highly skilled directors supporting all aspects of the project
The identified needs for the facility as a result of a community consultation processes include:
- Creation of a community facility with café and multi-use spaces – especially to support freelance working styles, and exhibition and performance space
- Establishing a high quality Art B&B for visitors to Blackpool looking for a new contemporary quality offer
- A creative training and learning programme as part of a progression route for people to develop skills and seek employment
- Inclusion of a public cultural activity programme as a stimulus for skills and training and a focus for building community participation, engagement and cohesion
Profits back into Community Projects
The idea is Art B&B generates profit to plough back into community projects, training and a creative programme taking place on the ground floor of the new facility and elsewhere in Blackpool e.g. catering, leisure and cultural industries skills, arts and cultural production professional development.
Who we are and what we do?
Art B&B CIC is a new organisation all about creating equality of opportunity. Formally established as a CIC in 2016, work has taken place since 2013 with local communities to develop ideas and plans that combine a business initiative with community development to create change for people in Blackpool.
Its Board comprises of local and regional experts, professional and community group representatives with open access to a wider membership that will meet monthly and be promoted year-round including through LeftCoast’s events and activities.
The CIC is limited by guarantee with a board and small, growing membership comprising of local community members and key professionals with appropriate skill-sets.
Community is at the heart
Community is at the heart of decision-making and long-term business development through our wider membership with access to AGMs, social and business gatherings and decision making. We envisage an active membership of 20 and growing a wider membership of 250.
Since Art B&B CIC is a new and growing organisation it has the support of LeftCoast to develop the new venture.
LeftCoast is an agency established in 2012 to support communities by empowering them through offering creative opportunities to enable people to improve their skills and decision-making abilities to lead and bring about the change needed for their communities.
The Art B&B initiative came out of the community after 3 years of LeftCoast. working with them.
There are five main aims in our community business:
- Capital Development (refurbishment) of a disused Bed and Breakfast Hotel (including numerous artists’ commissions for room fit-outs, operations and public spaces)
- Development of a new sustainable and scalable business model
- Creation of a new accessible community hub and facilities/cafe
- Development and operation of a talent and professional development programme for communities funded from the B&B’s profits
- Increase new audiences/visitors from more diverse backgrounds and areas to visit Blackpool’s cultural assets.
Main project partners are:
- Arts Council England (Funder)
- Power to Change – Community Business Fund (Funder)
- Coastal Communities Fund (DCLG) (Funder)
- Vera Wolstencroft Charitable Foundation (Funder)
- Tudor Trust (Funder)
- Clore Duffield Foundation (Funder)
- Blackpool Council (who acquired the building on behalf of Art B&B CIC)
- LeftCoast (Funder and delivery partner)
- Unlimited (Funder and commissioning partner for disabled artists)
- Key Fund (Funder)