Arts Council

Arts Council awards £12.3m to improve buildings and equipment at 46 sites

Article: David Styles | Image: © Max McClure/Arts Council England

The latest round of Arts Council England’s Small Capital Grants programme has awarded £12.3 million to 46 arts and cultural organisations.

The programme was conceived to help organisations within the creative industries to consolidate and improve existing facilities and equipment through grants ranging between £100,000 and £499,999. This approach, Arts Council hopes, benefits artists, audiences and the communities in a venue’s vicinity.

Two of this year’s recipients are Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham and Onion Collective CIC in West Somerset.

£400,000 has been awarded to the former, with the funds designed to facilitate the repurposing of existing spaces along with the creation of new, accessible artist studios and improvements to the site’s café facilities. All of elements of the work will focus heavily on environmental sustainability.

Increasing capacity of participation work, courses and workshops along with attracting a more diverse audience have all been additional motivating factors behind the project.

The Onion Collective CIC, a community-led redevelopment project in the West Somerset harbour town of Watchet, has received support to expand its existing Contains Art gallery and to build a new education space. Growing spaces to deliver workshops and studio opportunities, plus refurbishing the quayside public realm, are also integral to the scheme.

Sitting within a wider East Quay project, organisers hope the redevelopment can create hundreds of jobs – leading to a spike in income and regeneration of the rural area.

Where will the money go?

Of the £12.36 million awarded this year, the regional distribution is as follows:

London – £2,165,664
Midlands – £2,427,380
North – £3,262,135
South East – £2,320,098
South West – £1,744,506

“Our Small Capital Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure that their buildings and equipment can adequately support their work,” said Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, as this year’s grant recipients were confirmed.

“I’m delighted that we’re 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.”

The budget for the latest round of Small Capital Grant funding represents a £1 million increase from last year’s £11.3 million total. The next round of the programme is expected to be delivered in 2020/21 and will open for applications in the spring of next year.

Details of all 46 successful applicants are available here.