Ignite Yorkshire

Ignite Yorkshire is a group of open-minded, creative and enterprising young people. We take inspiration from the industrial past to develop new skills for the future. Our aim is to change the way we understand and connect with Yorkshire’s heritage, and spark a revolution for the 21st century.

Our work is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust Program, and are the only Yorkshire-based project to be awarded this funding. We work with young people aged 14-25 to re-forge the connection between industrial heritage and a new generation.


Ignite Yorkshire is supported by a partnership of IVE (lead partner), Canal Connections, National Coal Mining Museum for England, North Yorkshire Youth, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, and Swinton Lock Activity Centre. Our strategic partner is the Canal and River Trust.

Our consortium of partners has a wealth of experience, with a mix of heritage and youth work organisations. By working together we will share knowledge across sectors and promote organisational change with young people at its heart.

Aims and Ambitions

With our partners, Ignite Yorkshire has, and will continue to, engage diverse groups of young people and do the following:

  • Facilitate young people’s creative interpretations of heritage to create quality engagement opportunities.
  • Make youth governance an integral part of our partner organisations by establishing youth boards.
  • Develop the future heritage workforce through apprenticeships, work experience and training programs.
  • Influence gatekeepers to better understand and appreciate heritage-related opportunities for young people.
  • Improve perceptions of how young people can make a positive contribution to heritage.

Work So Far

Our journey to deliver these aims started with a six month delivery stage from October 2017 to March 2018. During this phase we ran 41 themed taster sessions for young people to get creative with skills, innovative interpretation and the visitor experience. Over 470 young people took part in sessions including creating an app, blacksmithing, music workshops and woodworking, and many more.

In Year One, from June 2018 to May 2019, we engaged 974 young people across the region.

Highlights include:

  • 5 youth boards established
  • 54 accredited outcomes for young people
  • Collaborative design of Ignite Yorkshire branding with young people
  • Building a timber-framed house
  • 140 volunteering opportunities for young people
  • 4 exhibitions of young people’s work

Future plans

June 2019 marked the beginning of Year 2 of the project. This year, we have planned another round of varied, youth-led experiences, alongside staff development to support new ways of working.

Young people will continue to learn boat handling and navigation skills with Canal Connections. Their youth group, the Cactus Crew, will be working on developing their very own youth festival in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Swinton Lock Activity Centre will bring giant puppets onto the canals at Sheffield Waterfront Festival, and continue to exhibit their mining and pottery inspired artworks.

North Yorkshire Youth will use creative and outdoor activities to explore the impact of industrial revolution on traditional craft skills. They will also continue building their fantastic timber-framed house.

Young Volunteers at the National Coal Mining will build on the work of their successful Youth Arts Festival. They will also engage local SEND young people with mining heritage through immersive drama workshops.

Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust has even more creative opportunities open to young people, as well as continuing its successful work experience program, incorporating Arts Award.

Finally, Ignite will further develop partnership work with Aboard:Alight – a collaboration between IVE, North Yorkshire Youth, Canal Connections and The Writing Squad. This boat-based project has been awarded additional Great Place Lakes and Dales funding to create a space for young people in Skipton, North Yorkshire, to meet and get creative on the town’s canals.

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