Fund grant helps city’s carnival troupe

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Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) is a grant giving charity that invests in local community organisations.

LCF established The Leeds Fund as a way of distributing grants and enable them to keep making a difference to thousands of people every day.

HB Mama Dread’s Masqueraders (HBMDM) is a carnival troupe which aims to cement Leeds West Indian Carnival as part of the city’s cultural legacy. Guy Farrar, from HBMDM, shares more about this important project and how a recent Ann Maguire Arts Education grant from LCF provided support.

What project did LCF fund?

We are a volunteer-led carnival troupe that has existed for over 20 years and participates in Leeds West Indian Carnival. Our ‘We Are All Migrants’ project worked with 40 young people to develop their carnival arts skills and self-confidence. Fortunately, with the grant from LCF we were able to employ a choreographer to arrange dance pieces to soca tunes chosen by the troupe. These rehearsals, together with weekly workshops, enabled HBMDM to grow the numbers of young participants and performers.

What’s your most rewarding moment?

Watching a group of adults and young people coming together through performance – everyone was really positive and loved it when young people led the dance rehearsals and routines. As one member said: “We don’t need titles and trophies, we do this for the smiles and enjoyment of every single person that takes part and to stand for something more than just feathered headpieces and glitter bikinis. We did ourselves, the carnival movement and the city proud.”

What difference has the funding from Leeds Community Foundation made?

By supporting our troupe and its young people in particular, LCF’s support allowed us to think bigger. We were able to introduce more people to this unique multi-cultural, Caribbean-led event. But most of all, when you combine these things together, we’ve helped grow the Leeds carnival family.

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