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National Lottery Grant for Crossing the Bar 2023

Apr 20th 2023
Crossing The Bar 2023: The Tennyson Heritage Coast Discovery Trail

New Carnival is proud to announce that it has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9,720 for an exciting heritage project taking place in the south of the Island this summer. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will explore, interpret and celebrate a 28 mile stretch of the coastline of the Isle of Wight which is already designated as Heritage Coast due to its unspoilt landscapes, biodiversity, and rich cultural heritage.

Over a six-month period, the project works with scientists, environmentalists, museums, artists, schools, wider community groups, walking groups and members of the public to collate stories and create new narratives, excite learning and expression, create responses and celebrations, all inspired by the heritage coast.

The Tennyson Heritage Coast falls within Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (IWAONB) and is managed by that organisation. Isle of Wight is an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

A 3-day outdoor weekend event will take place on 9/10/11 June 2023 and an exhibition of work will be curated and shown over the summer holidays, for locals and visitors alike.

The project is New Carnival’s response to National Year of the Coast 2023 and to an ongoing awareness, inclusion and local ownership initiative for the new England Coast Path (ECP) – National Trail – completion expected in 2024. The Island’s coastal path accounts for about 128km of that 4,500 km route. New Carnival has been piloting work in coastal villages since 2021 (known as ‘Crossing the Bar’ after Tennyson, who lived here), and this year will mark a significant step change in ambition and wider audience engagement, building to a planned Island-wide finale with Natural England in 2024-25.

Hannah Ray, Executive Director for the New Carnival said.

“We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The grant will ensure we reach even wider audiences with high quality engagement activities that will inspire, inform, and connect people to the landscapes they live in”.

Notes to editors.

About New Carnival

New Carnival is a pioneering arts organisation based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Its mission is ‘to create exciting and vibrant art projects inspired by the natural environment, heritage and the world we live in, showcasing expression, cultivating a sense of pride place and belonging’.  

New Carnival is part of Arts Council England’s national Portfolio and is celebrated for its work in arts and inclusion, youth engagement and environmental sustainability.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.www.heritagefund.org.uk.

Named schools and organisations taking part:

Freshwater and Yarmouth Primary School, St Saviours Primary School, Brighstone Primary School, Niton Primary School, the Island Free School and Network Ryde. Learning experts: Dinosaur Isle, Wild about Wight, IW Music Hub, Creative Ways Outdoors, the National Trust and the IW Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Crossing the Bar walking programme has ongoing support from Visit Isle of Wight and The Walking Festival.

Why ‘Crossing the Bar’?

The project is named after a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson written in 1889 whilst he was crossing the Solent to his home at Farringford. The literal ‘bar’ he refers to is a sandbar (or spit) which forms part of the Island’s NW heritage coastline. Penned 3 years before his death, he uses ‘crossing the bar’ as a metaphor for his own passing, contemplating the afterlife. The title for our project emerged through Covid as we were contemplating our own futures, facing our own vulnerability and an urgent global climate crisis. We wanted to give the phrase a positive spin – heralding a green recovery. Tennyson was a keen walker, with a great fondness for nature as well as the creative arts, and our project celebrates that connection.