Highlights is a network of 90 volunteer groups. Together, we organise over 160 high quality professional events in village halls, schools and community centres. These include theatre, dance, music and childrens shows.
Our organisation was originally set up to work with isolated rural communities in the North Pennines. The area has suffered from long term economic decline (it was once the biggest lead mining area in Europe), resulting in pockets of high unemployment, isolated communities, poor transport links and declining local services.
We now work in Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland and the above still applies to many of our communities. The organisation is a Company Ltd by Guarantee with charitable status. We receive funding from the Arts Council, Northumberland, Cumbria and County Durham councils, along with some district funding
Our events are a great social night out. If you don’t know anyone when you arrive, you will when you leave!
We are one of 40 similar schemes that support professional arts in hundreds of small community venues throughout the UK, playing an important part in the social life and sustainability of their community. The schemes interests are represented by the National Rural Touring Forum.
Did you know that we also work in partnership with Arts Out West who are based in West Cumbria to deliver a collaborative programme of events throughout the County.
Highlights – future funding
In 2011 the Arts Council of England announced that their Regularly Funded Organisations programme would end on 31 March 2012; and to replace it they would be creating a new National Portfolio programme. Highlights is delighted to have been accepted on to the National Portfolio programme for 2012-15, in recognition of its partnership work with our remarkable network of volunteer promoters. The application was made as a 3-way collaborative bid, incorporating Highlights Cumbria/County Durham; Highlights Northumberland; and Arts Out West (the Rural Touring scheme for West Cumbria). The award represents a slight decrease in annual support from the Arts Council of England. Added to this, all Local Authority contributions have been reduced. Nonetheless, Highlights is grateful for their continued support and will do all we can to maintain what is undoubtedly an indispensable service, bringing professional arts activities to isolated communities in partnership with our indispensible band of volunteers.