Arts Council England success stories for Capital: Small Grants programme

Arts organisations in England are celebrating this week after the winners of the Arts Council England (ACE) Capital: Small Grants programme were announced. The total fund pot of GBP11.6m (€13.1m) will support resilience by funding schemes to improve buildings, install energy efficiency equipment, and the development of new digital technologies.

The individual grants, which ranged between GBP100,000 and GBP499,999, will assist companies to become innovative and sustainable.

Darren Henley, chief executive, ACE said: “Our Capital: Small Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure that their buildings and equipment can adequately support their work. We are able to help organisations of all sizes from across the country develop more sustainable and resilient businesses through these grants, allowing them to produce even more excellent work for the public.”

Among the recipients of these latest awards are Creative Kernow in Cornwall, for the construction of a new environmentally sustainable workspace, which will house a number of significant creative organisations in the South West; Bow Arts in London, to upgrade The Lakeside Centre, including increasing its capacity to harvest energy and rainwater and enabling full step-free access; M6 Theatre in Rochdale, where the award will be invested in the company’s touring and digital facilities by purchasing a greener touring van and creating a digital archive of M6’s production history; Colchester Arts Centre, to transform the venue’s accessibility for D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences, as well as improving energy efficiency and tech infrastructure; Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, to improve its light fittings and humidity and ventilation systems, reducing its carbon footprint – a grant that forms part of ACE’s major investment in Coventry’s year as City of Culture 2021.

[This week ACE also announced it is to invest GBP5m in Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, supporting the city as it “embarks on a transformative journey, celebrating the people and places that make Coventry unique”.]

Ranked by region the North received GBP3.7m, London GBP3.3m, Midlands GBP1.5m, South East £1.7m, South West GBP1.5m.

Companies to receive the top awards of GBP499,999 were Norwich Arts Centre, The Hepworth Wakefield Trust, Opera North Limited, Kendal Brewery Arts Centre, The Courtyard Trust, Studio 3 Arts. Falling slightly short of the top mark was The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, who will receive GBP499,950.

Richard Mantle, general director, Opera North said: “Opera North is delighted with the news that Arts Council England is supporting our Music Works redevelopment project. Music Works is about creating a building to make and experience music, but it’s also about creating thrilling, powerful performances and the opportunities for participation that will bring the new spaces to life for many years to come.

“This investment by Arts Council England is a significant vote of confidence in our plans for our Leeds base. It will enable us to ensure that our new buildings are both environmentally sustainable and fully accessible, and crucially, put in place the digital infrastructure to support a thriving, innovative cultural and educational programme.”

In total, Opera North’s overall target for the Music Works fundraising campaign is GBP18m.