I AM writing to support the ‘talking up’ of Keighley that your editorial advocates. I was shocked to read that Bingley councillor John Pennington was so dismissive of the future of Keighley, and of his description of our town as ‘dying’.

Keighley is very much a living and lively place. And Keighley Creative has grown out of the creativity and determination of the people of Keighley.

Last October saw an amazing and highly successful Arts and Film Festival running for four days in the town, organised by Keighley Creative. People of all ages joined in a wide range of activities, ranging from lantern making and parade in Cliffe Castle Park, to a film of people’s early memories of Keighley, to an exhibition of excellent art in the old Co-op building, and much more.

We were supported to do this by Bradford Council, by Arts Council England, and by a number of charities. Such was the enthusiasm that we have gone on to become a charity, with a robust and experienced Board of Trustees and Practitioners.

These same funding bodies were impressed with our endeavours and have awarded us some emergency funding to develop a ‘virtual’ festival later this year, as well as a number of arts based projects again involving people from across the town, over this summer. It has meant we are able to brighten up the town with a series of art exhibitions in the Co-op windows.

We know that art and culture can play a really important role in bringing about the regeneration of a town. We are pleased that we can play a crucial role in the bid to Government for the Town Plan Fund. Recent research has highlighted that art and culture hubs encourage our nation's creativity; advance education; impact positively on health and wellbeing; support innovation and technology; provide defining characteristics to villages, towns and cities; contribute to economic prosperity; and enhance England's reputation for cultural excellence on the global stage.

We are in the process of development so that we can offer more to the people of Keighley – both now, during Covid restrictions, but also in the future, when we can more easily meet together. We will support what is already going on in Keighley as well as adding to it.

If you would like to find out more about our plans please look at our website keighleycreative.org or facebook  keighleycreativespace

GEORGINA WEBSTER, vice chairman of Keighley Creative

Old Sunwin House Building, Cavendish Retail Park, Keighley

* Email your letters to alistair.shand@keighleynews.co.uk