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Local charities and services on the Fylde Coast


Inside Out, a new programme of domestic arts in the coastal town of Fleetwood, Lancashire has been shortlisted for a prestigious national Creative Lives award. 


Spun up during lockdown as a community arts project devised by LeftCoast, Blackpool’s Creative People and Places organisation, Inside Out quickly developed into a prolific collective of local artists and makers, and a platform for discussion about the importance of domestic craft and creativity in shaping the places where we live and new ways of thinking.


Gillian Wood, a Hollywood costume designer, who has been living and working with the Fleetwood community as LeftCoast’s artist in residence for almost two years, was the first to spot the creative potential of her fellow Fleetwood residents after she founded the Fylde Coast Scrub Hub during lockdown, which brought together a team of local sewers who produced over 400 sets of scrubs for the NHS. Gill said,


“I realised how much talent there was within the group. People weren’t only sewing, but sculpting, knitting, making and painting. Not only that but people were sharing stories of people making rocking horses, designing suits and sewing wedding dresses. We thought that this needed celebrating, and so Inside Out was born. We have been genuinely amazed at the local capability and standard of the work and the breadth and amount of stuff being produced. Behind closed doors, ideas have grown into visions, pursued, and skilfully turned into unique and wonderful art pieces. There are so many creative people in Fleetwood. The Inside Out exhibition put it out there for people to see and gave people confidence in their craft expertise. Now it’s the local artists and makers who are driving the Inside Out programme forward to elevate the value of making and the domestic arts.”


In June this year, the collective held a significant exhibition of their crafts at the disused Fleetwood Hospital, where their work was curated by LeftCoast Creative Engagement Manager, Laura Jamieson, and artist in residence, Gill Wood, who also worked with the local artists and makers to help them turn their creations into wallpapers, fabric and furniture. 


Eager to share their skills and the benefits of craft and making with others, LeftCoast and the burgeoning Inside Out collective held a free Inside Out Studio Day last Saturday, at the former Fleetwood Hospital. Planned to coincide with the Craft Council’s nationwide Make! Craft! Live! participation events for their 50th anniversary year celebrations, the Inside Out Studio Day featured a full day of inspirational short, live, maker-led workshops. 



CEO of Fleetwood Trust, Charley Wilkinson, said “working with LeftCoast has helped the Trust to engage with Fleetwood residents in a new and creative way, using the building differently whilst it is in development. We loved every moment of the Inside Out exhibition. Working with Left Coast on this project has also brought to life the vision and ethos of the Trust. It has been a difficult time for many during Covid and this project has been a breath of fresh air, allowing the community to work together.”


Sisters, Toluwani Akinlotan & Sinmiloluwa Akinlotan, were the youngest makers to deliver a workshop on the day. At age 13 and 11 respectively, they impressed the audience with their creative knowledge, skills and poise as they delivered a workshop on lino printing to a room full of adults and people following along from home on Facebook Live. 


Now, the Inside Out Programme has been nominated for the national Creative Lives People’s Choice Award, which shines a spotlight on resilience and creativity during the pandemic.


Director of LeftCoast, Tina Redford, said, “The local creatives who made Inside Out happen genuinely deserve this recognition. They not only produced wonderful artworks for the exhibition, but they hung pictures, swept floors, and volunteered to do track and trace with the visitors. During a unique time, they created a unique experience and I hope the people of Fleetwood will vote to have the town’s creative talent celebrated at national level.”


Local maker and member of the Inside Out collective, Kate Ferris, said, 


“I just started painting in lockdown. I’d never shown my work to anyone. I was a bit nervous about getting involved in Inside Out, but I thought, why not? I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it, but I got to know them and the team at LeftCoast. Gillian was so patient and always talked to me when I was having a doubting moment. I felt like I had that support. I didn’t know what to expect, or what anyone’s perception would be of what I had created, but it’s given me a lot of confidence to think, ‘Actually, why not? I can do this’. Now I can say to others, ‘Just have a go – that’s all I did. It is possible to do it.’ I’ve even sold some of my pieces. It’s all thanks to the support and encouragement I got from being involved in Inside Out.”


A total of 31 creative groups have been shortlisted for the 2021 Creative Lives Awards, including Inside Out. A winner will be chosen from England, Ireland/N.Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and all groups are looking for the public to vote for them to win the People’s Choice Award.


Read about LeftCoast’s nomination for the Creative Lives Awards and cast your vote for Inside Out to win the People’s Choice Award before the 31st January 2022 at 


Winners will be announced at the Creative Lives Awards ceremony in Coventry in early March 2022, as part of the city’s UK City of Culture celebrations. Winners will receive an award, framed certificate, cash prize and free access to all of Creative Lives’ future ‘Creative Learning’ online training sessions.


For more information about Inside Out visit:

Lizza Lane at the Inside Out Studio Day Credit Alex O'Toole.jpg

Lizza Lane at the Inside Out Studio Day Credit Alex O'Toole

Inside Out Fleetwood - images Claire Griffiths June 2021 (85).jpg

Inside Out Fleetwood - images Claire Griffiths June 2021 (85)

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Helping Hearts

Each week no matter how bad the weather, we go out around Blackpool to ensure those living on the streets receive a hot meal, hot drink, sandwich, snacks, but most importantly a friendly face & someone to listen.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer, checkout our Facebook page: Helping Hearts

The Light Lounge

The Light Lounge is a crisis intervention and prevention mental health service offering support to the communities of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. 

Come along to 259 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool to meet the team and find out more about the support on offer at the Light Lounge. We will be having taster sessions, talks from previous service users, arts and crafts and so much more. 

For more information, please contact

The Light Lounge via email:

Telephone: 01253 477745

Be sure to follow @TheLightLoungeBlackpool on Facebook to be kept up to date and for sneak peaks of the launch itself! 

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