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Coping with change

  • Date: 22 May 2014
  • Artform: All
  • Area: North
Liverpool Everyman opening event Liverpool Everyman opening event, Jason Mitchell

Our mission at the Arts Council is Great art and culture for everyone. We have five goals to help us achieve this.

The aim of Goal 3 is to ensure that the arts, museums and libraries supported by the Arts Council are resilient and environmentally sustainable. Here in the North there are number of examples of how new partnerships and creative strategies are ensuring our cultural institutions future-proof themselves.

Download the full case study or read it online here

Capital investment: new buildings bring new confidence

Arts Council Capital funding helps organisations to acquire the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work.

March 2014 saw the re-opening of Liverpool's Everyman Theatre after 10 years' planning and two years' construction. 

The project was funded by £16.8 million from the Arts Council's National Lottery funded Capital programme. Over the period 2012/15, this Capital investment programme is providing £243.6 million nationwide to support organisations in developing resilience, by giving them the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work, and to become more sustainable and resilient businesses.  Further funding for the Everyman Theatre came from the European Regional Development Fund (£5.9 million), the Northwest Regional Development Agency (£2.5 million) as well as over £1.9 million of private funding.

Designed by Haworth Tompkins, the Everyman's new building - which has just won the RIBA NW Building of the Year - retains hallmark features such as the 400-seat thrust auditorium and convivial basement bistro but has a number of important new facilities.

Oldham's long-established Coliseum Theatre which is a National portfolio organisation, is to get a new building on a new site, thanks to a creative partnership between a visionary local authority and the Arts Council.

Oldham Council is led by Jim McMahon, who was recently awarded the national title of Councillor of the Year in recognition of his strong leadership and his cooperative approach. Under his leadership, the borough has invested in innovative and radical regeneration projects. Among these, the new Coliseum Theatre and Heritage Centre, is aimed at attracting 'a new kind of visitor' to Oldham in a scheme which will also refurbish the town's former Grade II-listed Library and Art Gallery building. Capital funding to the tune of £5 million will come from the Arts Council, together with £4-5 million from Heritage Lottery and £20 million from Oldham Council.

Successful micro loans scheme to be rolled out nationally

Following the success of a two year Creative Industry Finance pilot programme, which supported over 400 creative enterprises, the scheme will be re-launched as a national initiative in the second half of 2014.

The programme, funded by Arts Council England and operated by Creative United, helps creative enterprises to develop and grow by providing businesses with tailored advice and support, along with the opportunity to access loan finance of between £5,000 and £25,000. Between May 2012 - March 2014 the programme, which was piloted in London and in the Yorkshire and Humber regions only, supported 437 creative enterprises. 92 of them were in Yorkshire and Humberside and 1,961 hours of business support were delivered, of which 549 were in Humberside. Overall, £876,000 of finance was approved to 59 businesses. Those businesses that received loans saw an average increase in turnover of 25 per cent.

Encouraging a mixed economy in the cultural sector

One way for organisations to become more sustainable is to attract more charitable and private support: a mixed economy approach using multiple funding sources can help safeguard arts organisations' long term futures. The Arts Council encourages the culture sector to become more efficient in this respect in a number of ways.

Transforming fundraising

Thanks to a three year Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme, four organisations in the North are each currently hosting an Arts Fundraising Fellow for twelve months. The aim of the scheme is to create the next generation of leading development directors skilled with the vision, entrepreneurial expertise and ingenuity to make significant difference to the arts fundraising landscape.

The four organisations participating in the scheme in the North are Opera North, Tate Liverpool, Royal Northern College of Music and Sage Gateshead. Eleven other fellows have been placed with organisations in London and the South West.

Catalyst for Change

Through the Arts Council's Catalyst private giving investment scheme, organisations are able to diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources.

Catalyst is a £100 million matched funding scheme for the culture sector which is made up of investment from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The scheme has several strands, offering organisations the opportunity to move their fundraising and development expertise on to the next level, whatever their current starting point.

The Hallé in Manchester has been allocated £1 million from the Catalyst Endowment Scheme. This £30 million scheme offers match funding to arts organisations with a successful track record of fundraising to help them build endowments by July 2015, to provide an annual income for a minimum term of 25 years. The Hallé's award is to be secured over a three-year period by £1 million raised by the Hallé itself, for its endowment. 

The additional endowment will support the Hallé's ensembles and education programme in the Hallé Centre - the former St. Peter's church in Manchester's Ancoats district - and some ambitious, large-scale artistic projects. 

Theatre by the Lake in Keswick was able to double the value of £3,000 gift from a local company thanks to the Catalyst Arts capacity building and match funding project. For a limited period, Theatre by the Lake can claim £1 to match every £1 it receives as a donation. The donation from Studsvik, the nuclear services company with a facility in West Cumbria, went towards Theatre by the Lake's Festival of Youth 2014: Lest We Forget, inspired by the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. 

Online shopping and support for new artists at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Manchester Craft and Design Centre (MCDC) in Manchester's creative Northern Quarter, is home to 24 resident artists and makers. It has long been a place of pilgrimage for those looking for products that are both original and aesthetically satisfying. Now, thanks to a website development project, customers will soon to be able to buy the work of their favourite MCDC artist online.

The Arts Council initially supported the centre in the development of its website via the Grants for the Arts scheme. Funding also came from Manchester City Council. MCDC is now a National portfolio organisation and the continued development of its website means that later this year it will be ready to roll out online sales, with the aim of increasing the centre's income stream.

Steps towards environmental sustainability

Arts Council England is committed in leading the arts and culture sector to become more environmentally sustainable.

We are the first arts funder in the world to have embedded environmental measures into our funding programmes and contracts: in 2012 we introduced environmental policy and action plan requirements for more than 700 of our revenue funded organisations.

To help our organisations implement this, we formed a partnership with Julie's Bicycle and a report on the first year of this policy shows some encouraging results: 90 per cent of organisations engaged with the programme and nearly 400 provided enough data to identify savings in energy and water use.

Some organisations in the North are in the vanguard of this movement to make environmental sustainability intrinsic to the world of culture and the arts.

Sage Gateshead aspires to be one of the UK's most environmentally sustainable arts venues. With environmental leadership from the top and an active green team, its actions range from LED lighting upgrades and installing electric car charging to sustainable food sourcing and food waste recycling. It reduced carbon by 10 per cent during the period 2008/09 to 2012/13

Manchester Art Gallery's carbon reduction target is aligned with the city's target of 41 per cent carbon reduction by 2020

Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, and a member of Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues, reduced carbon from energy use, both in absolute terms and per exhibition day, by 24 per cent in the period 2010/11 to 2012/13, saving £10,000 on electricity in the process

Chester Performs significantly improved the carbon footprint of its Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre with a reduction in the number of oil-fired generators it used by introducing battery banks charging off generators, therefore bringing down their consumption of oil by around 50 per cent. The organisation then went on to persuade the local authority to install permanent power and water to the park which has since vastly improved the environmental impact of this project

A number of organisations are seeing the value of collaboration: Manchester Arts Sustainability Team comprises 13 arts organisations, venues and events, collaborating to support their own sustainability goals and Manchester's climate change strategy. Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues is made up of 10 venues working to share learning and maximise their positive environmental, social, cultural and economic impact

Cornerhouse is Manchester's international centre for contemporary visual arts and independent film. In recent years it has been making impressive environmental progress such as: achieving zero waste to landfill, establishing a sustainable materials sourcing, recycling and reuse policy, and running a creative environmental communications project which resulted in the Life of a paper cup recycling awareness film. In 2013 Cornerhouse achieved a Manchester Environmental Business Pledge Gold Award