NEARLY £110,000 of funding is winging its way to a Bradford charity to help develop the music skills of people with learning disabilities.

Mind the Gap (MTG), which has studios at Lister Mills and is England’s largest learning-disabled theatre company, has secured £95,115 from Youth Music Foundation to deliver a three-stranded programme of skills development over 32 months.

A further grant of more than £14,000 from Arts Council England’s “Grants for the Arts” has been awarded to artist Daniel Foulds to research and develop his own project called Bradford: A Hidden History.

Mind the Gap activities include pathways ranging from entry-level sessions for young people aged 11 plus, to peer mentoring and music artists’ development, as well as plenty of performance opportunities.

The aim is to make learning-disabled musicians more visible in the sector and offer progression routes for learning-disabled people who want to make music.

Executive director Julia Skelton said: “We’re thrilled to be able to embed music skills more deeply and widely into MTG’s programme, and work with new partners. It’s an accessible way and enjoyable way to involve more young learning disabled people in the arts, initially as participants and audiences and, we hope in the longer term, as artists.”

The programme starts with different pilot and taster activities, and from September 2017 will offer different opportunities through MTG Academy, workshops and longer programmes in Bradford, Halifax, Leeds and Wakefield.

Partners involved include Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax, Theatre Royal Wakefield and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. The project will also identify and link up with new groups and artists within local communities in Bradford, Wakefield, Leeds and Calderdale.

Meanwhile, Daniel’s project will explore influential people from Bradford’s history who have often been overlooked because they were not connected to the city’s rich historical textile industry. A learning-disabled artist, he will be writing and directing the piece with a group of non learning-disabled actors and will be mentored along the way by writer Mary Cooper and director Tom Wright. He will also work closely with the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society to ensure his work is factually correct.

Daniel said: “I’m exhilarated to have received Grants for the Arts funding for my own project as being a learning disabled artist, this is very rare. I can’t wait to get started and hopefully this research and development funding will open the door for future funding to realise the final piece.”

Daniel will start working on his project straight away. His research and development week will take place at Mind the Gap, in May, working towards a work in progress sharing at the beginning of July.

To find out more about Mind the Gap and to get involved email, or call 01274 487390.