Great Place Lakes and Dales.

Great Place Lakes and Dales (GPLD) is an Arts Council, England and National Lottery Heritage Funded project with four project partners South Lakeland District Council, Craven District Council, Lake District National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park and ten cultural partners.

Great Place Lakes and Dales logo
View of the lakes and dales

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of Great Place Lakes and Dales. Photo credit: Stephen Garnett.

The challenge.

Everyone knows the Lakes and Dales are great places. The challenge is nationally the population of young people aged 16 to 34 is around 26% of the total population. In the Lakes and Dales it’s about 17%.

These protected landscapes need diverse, dynamic individuals, living and loving in the area if the culture, economy and distinctiveness of the area are to thrive.

Jael Williams leading a workshop
Photo credit: Anthony Robling

Our role.

Innovate Educate Ltd was appointed to the role of business animateur, an unusual role but one that perfectly matched our skillset working with young people. We started by consulting with young people, schools, universities, creative and more traditional businesses to find out about the challenges and rewards to recruiting and retaining creative young people in the area.

Our research questions led to four key areas:

  • Young people are generally not aware of the creative and cultural sector as an employment possibility
  • Creative young people’s access to workspaces
  • Appropriate business support for creative, arts and cultural sector organisations
  • Visibility of the cultural, arts and creative sectors, inside and outside of the Great Place Lakes and Dales. Also the visibility of creatives to the traditional business sector.


What we delivered.

We trialled solutions to address the issues we identified:

  • Workshops in schools highlighting local issues but with a focus on creative solutions
  • A residential weekend supporting young people starting out on a creative or cultural career to gain the skills to run a successful and healthy business
  • Curated networking events bringing the creative, business and cultural sectors together as equal partners to make change in their communities
  • A seed funding programme encouraging projects that benefit young people in the area.
Photo credit: Stephen Garnett
These all proved to be very successful and provided much greater insight into the issues facing young people. We also worked with young creatives and the Yorkshire Dales National Park to create an online resource with a difference. Create Your Future profiles young people with successful creative businesses in the Lakes and Dales. All work collaboratively, all work to support people, profit and planet. All are contributing to their communities. Create Your Future also profiles opportunities for young people with the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This resource contains two toolkits for young people starting a creative business or exploring their career options. These are based on Top Tips from young creatives in the area.

What happened.

There are very strong voices across the Great Place Lakes and Dales. Communities will be the change; they will not tolerate change being ‘done unto them’. Our programme is built on a dynamic, collaborative, inclusive approach, with strong leadership.

561 students are now aware of the possibility of a creative career.

63 teachers now know about the creative sector and have strong connections with local businesses and creatives.

As a result of PlayWorkStay, 21 young people are now taking their business ideas forward. These young people are now part of a strong and supportive network.

100 businesses engaged in the conversation and are aware of the issues facing young creatives.

LEPS and Chambers and now reviewing business support, models and practice.

8 cultural organisations working differently with the local community.

The seed funding project has supported 32 businesses with grants of between £5,000 and £10,000. These projects have supported creatives with more sustainable business practice and upskilled local people to work more closely with young people.