A LIGHTS festival which attracts hundreds of thousands of people promises to have a lasting impact on communities throughout the North-East thanks to a substantial grant.

Artichoke, producers of Lumiere Durham, have announced that the Garfield Weston Foundation have once again pledged support for the 2019 edition of the light festival.

The foundation’s £90,000 grant will go towards the delivery of Artichoke’s year-round learning and participation programme within communities in the region, ensuring Lumiere has “a lasting impact beyond the four-day festival experience”.

Lumiere, commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England, will return from the November 14 to 17th November for its tenth anniversary edition.

Exciting new commissions will feature alongside some of the festival’s most memorable installations from the past decade.

Beyond the spectacle of the festival is an extensive programme of events, workshops and training experiences, made possible through the generous support of Garfield Weston and other supporters.

These initiatives invite community groups and individuals from the region to take part in the creation of artworks, learn new skills and undertake professional development opportunities like traineeships and enhanced volunteering roles.

Philippa Charles, director of Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “The foundation has once again chosen to support Lumiere Durham in recognition of its commitment to providing long-term benefits to the North- East, through ongoing learning and participation opportunities.

“The festival itself is an internationally-renowned cultural highlight, which has delighted and astounded audiences repeatedly over the last ten years. We’re proud support the festival in its endeavour to further the impact of the festival throughout the local community.”

There is still time to join Garfield Weston as a supporter of Lumiere 2019, helping not only to bring the festival to life, but to realise the engagement work in the community. Artichoke are still seeking sponsors for a range of initiatives including the Brillian commissioning scheme and Lumiere conference.

Artichoke development director Sarah Coop said: “We’re delighted and grateful that Garfield Weston has chosen to support Lumiere so generously again. The investment will help fund a programme of community work that we’re incredibly proud of.”

In 2017, over 1,000 local people engaged with the Lumiere programme outside of the festival, including 720 school pupils across 24 schools.

One of the highlights was the planting of 15,000 stems of flower-like sculptures for Entre les rangs, by artist Rami Bebawi and Kanva in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral. Around 30 disadvantaged community members, including those from two local YMCA groups, a women’s refuge group and Syrian refugee families, worked with the production team.