Arts Council England’s “ambitious” 2018-22 investment to place emphasis on geography and diversity

Arts Council England (ACE) has announced the budgets for its 2018 to 2022 investment period, alongside sector guidance for applying to its National Portfolio.

ACE has set a budget of £622m per year across lottery and grant in aid for its three main funding streams: the National Portfolio, Grants for Arts and Culture and Strategic Funds.

The application portal for the National Portfolio will open on 26 October 2016 and briefings for those who may wish to apply are taking place across the country from tomorrow.

Darren Henley, chief executive, Arts Council England said: We’ve planned a budget that lets us reach more people in new ways. We’ll increase investment outside London without damaging the capital; fund more new, small and diverse organisations. And museums, libraries and arts organisations will apply to us on a more level playing field.

‘Everybody deserves to benefit from Arts Council investment, wherever they are, whatever their background. Our plans through to 2022 show we mean it when we talk about great art and culture for everyone.’

So, what’s up for grabs? 

1. National Portfolio (NPO): A budget of £409m (€467m will be available each year between 2018-22. This will include £341m of grant-in-aid and £68 million of National Lottery funding.

Significance: An increase of £37m per annum on the previous investment period (2015-18) will be used to help support ACE’s ambition of achieving a four per cent points uplift in the proportion of the NPO budget spent outside London; support the integration of museums and libraries, for arts and museums’ activity into the new portfolio; and bring new, small and diverse organisations into the portfolio. 

2. Grants for Arts and Culture: The open access funding stream will see an increase in budget of £1m per annum to £87.5m during this investment round.

Significance: The increase will help support the integration of museums and libraries, who will now be able to apply to this funding stream for museums’ activity for the first time. It will also continue to help support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations.

3. Strategic funds: Investment will remain broadly the same at £125m per annum.  ACE’s strategic funds will continue to address gaps in the sector, such as enhancing diversity and increasing the reach of art and cultural activity in areas with low levels of engagement.

Provisos: The budgets remain subject to a future grant in aid settlement from government and fluctuations in National Lottery income. Organisations will be welcomed into the national portfolio for four years though the Arts Council will only be able to confirm levels of funding for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Dates for your diary
4 October – Applicant guidance published
26 October – Application portal opens

13 January – Deadline for mandatory conversations & registering on Grantium
1 February – Application deadline
27 June – Decision announcements