The Huddersfield HSHAZ Consortium is delighted to reveal we have been awarded a £90,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Huddersfield High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

Huddersfield HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme. Grants of up to £120,000 have been awarded to local arts organisations for cultural activity on each high street.

The consortium, led by the Theatre and Arts Company CHOL and supported by Kirklees Council, is made-up of a diverse membership of local interest groups, businesses, and community organisations with plans to deliver a programme of events and activities over the next three years. Each year will have a theme, this year being Sport and Well-being to tie-in with the 2021 Rugby World Cup. The theme for 2022 will be Arrivals, reflecting the diverse make-up of Huddersfield and, finally, 2023’s theme will be Music, to complement the Kirklees Year of Music. TOWNSOUNDS will document the stories and sounds that make up the town’s musical DNA and how it has brought communities together and helped to shape its identity.

The programme will run throughout the year with the main concentration of activity in the month of September, to coincide with the national Heritage Open Days. Events will include: The Woven Festival, local history walks and talks, and a collection of ‘memories of the Square’. Events will culminate in a book, music, dance, and theatre festival, in particular celebrating Huddersfield Carnival.

This year a small festival of running, walking and cycling is planned. Hi!HAZ Active will include: the George Hotel Mile, celebrating the achievement of local athlete Derek Ibbotson who broke the world record for fastest mile and the Tour de HAZ, a cycling route taking in local points of history and interest. Plus, of course, there will be a celebration of the Rugby League World Cup, with the creation of a Carnival King costume, that will feature at various events, including one of the quarter final games to be played in Huddersfield on 12th November 2021.

This programme of activities and events is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging, and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said:

“The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”

Vicky Storey, of Huddersfield HSHAZ Consortium leaders CHOL, said:

“The consortium is over the moon to have this opportunity to deliver an exciting and engaging community driven cultural programme in Huddersfield. This is a really unique opportunity for a range of heritage and cultural organisations to come together and develop a rich programme of activity exploring and celebrating the town centre’s past, present, and future. We can’t wait to share our plans and get people involved – it really is going to a programme for everyone!”

David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth and Regeneration said:

“The council are very happy to support this fantastic programme of events in Huddersfield. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit our high streets hard, and this programme will help to breathe life back into them in a vibrant and energetic way. I look forward to visiting the town centre and taking part in lots of events.”

The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run since last August across 43 High Street Heritage Action Zones. They have not only helped high streets offer cultural activity during lockdown, but also discovered what local people would like to see happening on their high streets.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage MP said: “High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy. These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer.”

To find out what is happening in your area and get involved, please follow @HistoricEngland / @HE_Yorkshire #HistoricHighStreets and visit: