AN arts and heritage officer has been appointed to work with communities across Keighley.

Lauren Kelly is one of four people recruited by intercultural arts charity Kala Sangam for a two-year project.

She will be based at Keighley Creative, in the former Argos building, Cooke Lane.

"Each of the post holders will get to know the communities where they’re based," says Lauren.

"The project is community-led – focussing on the heritage stories of the areas and the residents who live there.

"The end goal is to find an artist and commission a massive artistic response to those heritage stories."

Lauren has worked previously as a volunteer on Keighley Creative events.

And she's already established links with the Sue Belcher Centre at Bracken Bank, where she worked with the One In A Million youth group on a mural.

She says: "We want to find key residential sites across the Keighley district where there is specific community interest – maybe areas that are a bit under-served at the moment.

"I will then work with groups of residents, with heritage-based workshops and events, and discuss their cultural traditions."

Lauren, who has recently worked as a freelance in the arts and creative sector, says she's determined that Keighley should play a full part in the Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture celebrations.

She adds: "Our project is going to happen in the year of culture, so I’ll be saying ‘don’t forget Keighley’!

"So much is going to be happening here too."

Gemma Hobbs, of Keighley Creative, describes the appointment as "a big boost" for the town.

She says: "Having a new member of the team with us for the next two years – with her role being to go and listen to people about what they want, share stories and work with local groups to turn these personal histories into great art – will be a big boost for the town.

"As an organisation, the learning this project offers by linking us with other centres across the district – to share best practice – is fantastic."

The other three arts and heritage officers – Claire Hudson, Amarjit Singh Bath and Gemma Bailey – will be based at Kala Sangam, the Rockwell Centre in Thorpe Edge and the South Square Centre, Thornton.

The project is supported by the Arts Council-administered Department for Culture Media and Sport cultural development fund, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.