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Bridge Challenge Fund offers up to £75k awards for young people cultural education work

  • Date: 25 September 2013
  • Area: South West
Real Ideas Organisation

Real Ideas Organisation. Credit: Photo courtesy of Real Ideas Organisation

Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), an Arts Council England Bridge organisation, has launched an exciting new fund to help support high quality cultural education work for children and young people in the South West.

RIO's Bridge Challenge Fund aims to offer organisations, commissioners and partnerships in the South West leveraged cultural investment to unlock new income.

For every £1 from the Challenge Fund, it will unlock and lever at least £1 of other funding, income or investment from sources that have not previously supported cultural education activity before.

The Bridge Challenge Fund has two funding rounds in 2013. The first deadline is 11 October 2013. The second deadline is 6 December 2013.

Applicants can submit proposals - initially in the form of expressions of interest - from between £20,000 and £75,000.

At the heart of proposals must be innovative and sustainable work with or supporting children and young people in the Arts Council England-defined South West  area of England, not including Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

During 2013/14, RIO anticipates that the Bridge Challenge Fund will support five to 10 projects.

This new fund has been launched in the context of the Arts Council's wider focus on the importance of philanthropy and fundraising for the arts. Arts Council England is taking the lead in helping arts organisations to find ways of approaching a mixed funding model.

This September, Arts Council England Chair Sir Peter Bazalgette made a speech at the UK Community Foundation conference in Bristol highlighting the need for arts and cultural organisations to encourage philanthropic support and to better communicate the benefits of arts and culture to the general public.

The Arts Council also recognises the need to improve the fundraising skills of our workforce. We are committing £30 million to help 173 organisations strengthen this capacity.

We have also invested £2 million in a new fellowship in fundraising delivered by Arts Funding and Philanthropy Consortium. So far 11 Fellowships have been selected, with another new recruitment round launched today.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England says: 'There's ample evidence to show that the potential of fundraising for arts and cultural sector in the UK is huge and largely untapped. A new report asked why businesses didn't give and 66% answered that 'they weren't asked'. Combine that with a 2011 Philanthropy Review, which estimated that an additional £2 billion of charitable income could be achieved if giving became social norm and it becomes increasingly significant.

'RIO's Bridge Challenge Fund is an exciting opportunity for the sector to develop sustainable business models with new partners. The arts are vital for stimulating creativity and curiosity in young people's lives. We look forward to seeing what good work the successful proposals will bring to the South West.'

For further information about RIO's Bridge Challenge Fund, including eligibility criteria and the expression of interest form, see RIO's website: