As part of our mission, 'great art and culture for everyone', we have a goal to make sure that every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts and culture.

To help us achieve this we will fund a network of 10 'bridge' organisations (as part of the National portfolio) that will use their experience and expertise to connect children and young people, schools and communities with art and culture. They will connect schools and communities with other National portfolio organisations and others in the cultural sector, including museums and libraries.

What will bridge organisations do now?

It's important that bridge organisations have a picture of the current cultural education offer, including the context and demand for relevant arts and cultural opportunities for children and young people. Until April 2012 they are preparing for this new role by opening a dialogue with colleagues and partners in the cultural sector.

What will bridge organisations do from April 2012?

Bridge organisations will:

  • build on the good practice already out there but will also establish a sound evidence base. Then they will build and facilitate networks across the arts, culture and education to make sure that there's an ongoing dialogue
  • be the first point of contact for schools that are developing their arts and cultural offer. They will help schools identify and access the right arts and cultural opportunities, and will help them to bring their views into local cultural planning. This work will build on the legacy of Creative Partnerships and Find Your Talent
  • help National portfolio organisations and other arts and cultural organisations, including museums and libraries, bring the cultural experiences that they offer to more children and young people. Bridge organisations will help them to connect with schools and to identify opportunities for new commissions
  • help National portfolio organisations and other arts and cultural organisations to identify investment opportunities from local authorities, local businesses, trusts and foundations - so that they can enhance the offer they make to children, young people and families
  • develop the reach of arts and cultural experiences and the numbers of people engaging with them through Artsmark and Arts Award. They will help to balance the need for universal access to Artsmark and Arts Award with the targeted development of both schemes
  • support the Arts Council's ambition to raise the quality of work for by and with children and young people. Arts Council England will play a facilitation role, consulting and working through National portfolio organisations and the wider sector to develop a shared understanding of how the quality of experience for children and young people and families can be judged
  • support the work of the new music education hubs and National Plan for Music Education

What won't bridge organisations do?

The Arts Council isn't expecting bridge organisations to directly deliver arts and cultural opportunities for children and young people as part of their role as a bridge. Bridge funding relates just to bridge activities. Bridge organisations also receive National portfolio funding to produce and present art. Some bridge organisations will continue to deliver arts opportunities to children and young people as part of their core business - distinct from their bridge role. Bridge organisation may help to deliver opportunities for children and young people with other agencies and organisations (for example by modelling or piloting ways of working that directly benefit other arts and cultural organisations) in order to increase the capacity and long-term sustainability of the sector.

Who are the bridge organisations?

The bridge organisations and the funding they will receive to deliver this work from 2012-15 are: 

Area Organisation Funding
East Norfolk and Norwich £500,000
  Royal Opera House £730,000
East Midlands Mighty Creatives £900,000 
London A New Direction £1,100,000
  working with four 'associate bridge organisations':  
  Sadler's Wells £75,000
  Roundhouse  £160,000
  Apples and Snakes  £55,000
  Lyric Hammersmith  £160,000 
North East The Sage Gateshead  £483,000
North West Curious Minds £1,351,000
South East Artswork £1,526,000
South West RIO £880,000
West Midlands Arts Connect £1,124,000
Yorkshire Cape UK £1,018,000

For further information about our bridge organisations, visit our frequently asked questions page.