Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

National portfolio funding programme welcomes 85 North West organisations

  • Date: 7 April 2011
  • Area: National, North

Eighty-five organisations will benefit from Arts Council funding for the three years from April 2012 as part of its new National portfolio of funded organisations.

The National portfolio will see theatres, galleries and other arts organisations in the North West receive just under £77 million in funding over three years from April 2012.

This follows the Arts Council's landmark decision in 2010 to introduce a new funding system and an ambitious 10-year strategic framework for the arts in England, and takes into account a significant cut in the Arts Council's budget from government.

Fewer organisations will be funded but, set in the context of the Arts Council's 10-year vision for the arts, the aim is to fund organisations who will get great art to even more people and work collaboratively to make the most of the available funds.

This National portfolio will replace the existing Arts Council's regularly funded organisations programme which currently supports 108 organisations in the North West.

The new portfolio strengthens the region as a place with a rich and rewarding offer for audiences and as a place for artists to develop, produce and show work.

We are investing in exciting projects across the region. These include:

The National portfolio is one of the ways in which the Arts Council supports artists and arts organisations. Money will continue to be awarded through our Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme and other Lottery-funded programmes will be announced later in the year.

The application process for the new National portfolio began in November 2010 and the new portfolio will come into operation in April 2012.

The new portfolio has been shaped by the goals of the Arts Council's new strategic framework - Achieving great art for everyone - and by the challenging economic backdrop of a 29.6% grant in aid (GIA) cut to the Arts Council's 2011-2015 budget from government. 14.9% of this cut has been passed on to the budget for portfolio organisations.

Regional Chair Anil Ruia said: 'We're pleased that a number of arts organisations will be coming into the National portfolio - many of which we've seen grow and helped to develop through project support - they will bring fresh energy to the arts and to audiences in the region. We regret that, due to budget limitations, good applications had to be turned down'.

Regional Director Sarah Maxfield said: 'We've tried really hard to ensure that ambition and artistic adventurousness can flourish, that great work continues to be available to people - including in some new ways and new places - that we support good ideas and inspiring artistic leaders and that, as far as possible, we maintain a national arts ecology with capacity to grow and develop in the future'.

There are 15 organisations in the region that are being offered portfolio funding for the first time, including:

  • 20 Stories High, a Liverpool-based theatre company dedicated to creating bold, contemporary and imaginative theatre with and for young people
  • Kendal Arts International, creating, producing and promoting international quality outdoor arts events and festivals throughout Cumbria
  • The Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool which produces a yearly programme of visual arts activity
  • Chester Festivals Limited, which delivers and supports exciting festivals throughout the city
  • Company Chameleon, which produces and presents dance performances and educational activity

Our investment consolidates the North West's growing reputation as a cultural tourism destination with a thriving festivals offer helping us maximise the economic impact of our investment. Four festivals that are being offered portfolio funding for the first time including Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival and 24:7 Theatre Festival. Both of the region's major cities have strong artistic programmes within their broader festival offer and examples of where we are maintaining this investment include Manchester Jazz Festival and DaDa Disability and Deaf Arts, which offers an international standard of leadership through DaDaFest.

Our portfolio demonstrates commitments to high-quality work for children and young people with investment in organisations that create opportunities for young people to experience the richness of the arts. Examples of supported organisations include Contact Theatre, Pagoda Arts, M6 Theatre Company and Burnley Youth Theatre.

Within this new portfolio, we are building on the clusters of world-class arts organisations and activity in the region's major cities - activity which acts as a catalyst for artist-led creative collaboration and which sparks new ideas. In support of this, there is sustained investment in Manchester Literature Festival and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Outside of these main centres, there is new investment to Cheshire through Chester Festivals and maintained support of a localised cluster of organisations in the South Lakes, including Lakeland Arts Trust and The Wordsworth Trust.

We are also building on the North West's strength in digital arts. This includes sustained investment in FACT in Liverpool and in Cornerhouse in Manchester, established leaders in the field of digital and media arts both of which form part of the national backbone of digital arts organisations. There is also increased investment in FutureEverything in Manchester as well as portfolio funding for the first time for Octopus in Barrow and Manchester Craft and Design Limited who all demonstrate how those new technologies can further artform and market development.

An annual sum of £10.5 million Lottery funds has been set aside nationally for organisations that will provide a direct connection between the work produced by arts organisations and schools and communities in their area. This is work that is also particularly vulnerable at a time of public sector cuts. In the North West this role will be carried out by Curious Minds in Burnley who specialise in work with young people.

All existing regularly funded organisations (RFOs) who were unsuccessful in their applications have 12 months of remaining Arts Council funding to allow them to explore alternative sources of support or adapt their business plans.

A full list of all the organisations included in the new National portfolio can be found here