West Midlands Challenge Fund

Playing Out

This project is now closed

Playing Out was funded through Spirit’s West Midlands Challenge Fund, a collaboration with the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme to help build strong communities, improve wellbeing and promote inclusion in the arts.

The project in numbers


Grant amount

September 2020- December 2023

Project duration

Warwick Arts Centre

Grantee organisation

Playing Out focused on community development and cohesion in Canley, Coventry. Using play to deliver a listening and storytelling project that brought disabled and non-disabled people together, the project had a strong co-creation approach in the develop of its activities. Regular workshops were hosted at community venues and engaged around 400 participants, including those with long-term illness and disability. The project included the production of three parades as part of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme, inspired by the unique moment of the Games.

Spirit of 2012 awarded £200,000 to Warwick Arts Centre to create a new, inclusive art and culture project linked to the Commonwealth Games, following a collaboration between Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022. Situated on Coventry’s University of Warwick campus, Warwick Arts Centre is an award-winning, multi-artform venue that delivers high quality, engaging, diverse programmes of performing and visual arts.

Warwick Arts Centre was one of three organisations to receive a share of £600,000 from the West Midlands Challenge Fund, a collaboration between Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022. The fund was designed to help build strong communities, improve wellbeing and empower inclusive participation in the arts.

The steering group formed as part of Playing Out has continued beyond the conclusion of the grant, and there is a strong appetite for the annual Canley Parade and newsletter to carry on. In 2024, Playing Out was nominated for a Museum and Heritage Award, under the category of Community Engagement Programme of the Year.


“The creative activities have become integrated into Canley life and I have a better understanding of how the arts can be a valuable way of enabling other kinds of community development to happen organically – just through spending time with people.”

Playing Out Community Coordinator

Project aims

  1. Bring disabled and non-disabled people together through participatory arts.

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Critical Mass

Birmingham England


England West Bromwich