Written by Natasha Cowie, GCF's Assistant Producer.

The new year is off to a great start with a group of 12 young people and the GCF team attending Leeds 2023’s opening ceremony ‘The Awakening!’

This was the first of GCF’s ‘Adventures in Culture’ – a programme where we aim to take a group of young people on adventures, exposing them to brilliant culture in Leeds and beyond that they might not normally hear about or have access to. 

And what a successful first trip it was – the group packed into Headingley Stadium, which was decked out with an enormous stage, brilliant lights and fireworks. The two hour event was a showcase of the amazing culture across the city, from carnival dancers to ‘Leeds on Wheels’ to Corinne Bailey Rae!

Amongst the performances was a choir led by GCF trustee Stella Litras including Creative Associates Sheila Howarth and Lara Rose as well as participants Fredlin Morency, Love Onyeji and Godwin Mensah Badoo, a spoken word performance by trustee Khadijah Ibrahiim and artist Rheima Robinson, a band with Creative Associate Dermot Daly on trumpet, and artist Denmarc Creary’s spoken word performance.

We’re so proud to have so many artists associated with GCF being called up to represent the best of Leeds’ cultural talent, and the young people left inspired by what they saw.

Thanks to all our donors to Adventures in Culture, and this adventure was especially in the name of our much-loved late trustee Sylvie Nunn, whose generosity helped start the Adventures in Culture programme. Sylvie will be sorely missed by the whole GCF family.

If you would like to donate to Adventures in Culture, please see here. Your contributions will allow young people to see, experience and learn about the arts and culture they care about – this will level the playing field, aid in developing transferable life and work sills, and improve mental health and wellbeing at a time when fair access to arts and culture is more important than ever.