Our investment 2015–18
In May 2015, our chief executive Darren Henley announced an important shift in our distribution of funding – by 2018 we will increase our use of Lottery funds outside London by at least five percentage points, from 70 per cent to 75 per cent.
An important part of that will be the Ambition for Excellence fund – a three-year £35.2 million fund to develop talent and leadership in the regions, support work of increased ambition, and help build ‘cultural capacity’. It will fund work that contributes to the Creative Case – and close on one million has already been allocated, with awards to the Tricycle Theatre and Urban Music.
Creative People and Places
We also announced an additional £10 million of investment over the next two years in our Creative People and Places Programme, which is targeting 21 areas with low art engagement, from Liverpool to Luton. Creative People and Places makes a real impact on people’s lives, no matter where they come from, who they are and how old they are. Some 75 per cent of people it works with haven’t had much previous engagement with the arts.
There’s also been a big contribution to inclusion through our strategic touring programme. For example, earlier this year, Ramps to the Moon, a consortium of seven theatres led by New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich received £2.3 million for work by, with and for disabled performers and audiences. This is the largest strategic touring award we’ve made.
We know the importance of cultural education to improving outcomes for children and young people. Typically, where this is most needed is in those areas where provision is most dispersed or stretched. That’s why this autumn we launched the Cultural Education Challenge, so art and educational organisations can work better together through a national network of cultural education partnerships.
By more targeted distribution of our investment; by focusing on marginalised communities; by putting the formerly invisible centre stage and by ensuring that more children and young people can enjoy the opportunities of cultural education – these are some of the ways in which we are building diversity into our thinking. So that everybody will know that the arts are for them. So it becomes a creative, shaping process for us that will make for a richer arts and culture, and a richer nation.