Arts Funding

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Spotlight on Creative Black Country

1. Tell us what you do.

Creative Black Country (CBC) is a three year campaign, funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places project, which aims to make the most of creative talent in the Black Country.

We work with local people to discover, explore and grow an exciting and meaningful programme of arts activity in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We have a range of projects where we engage with communities putting them at the heart of each idea. In 2016, two of the major projects included Imagine That! and Desi Pubs.

Open Access Awards
We have Open Access awards which supports activities that build audiences and is open to individuals, groups and organisations in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. If a project builds audiences, connects local people with professional artists and brings great performance, art and creativity to the Black Country, Open Access could help make that project happen.

To apply or for more information click here.

Groundwork Groups
We work with community groups as ‘Groundworks‘ which offers local community groups the opportunity to start an exciting creative journey, supported by an Arts Advisor to help develop and shape the groups creative ideas and a Development Worker who offers support in areas such as:  governance, funding, training and information.

Groundworks groups, as part of the journey, have the opportunity for their members to Go and See a wide range of performance and visual arts to spark off ideas of their own.

2. What is your proudest achievement?

In our short time, CBC has had many proud moments but programming and organising the 2016 Sandwell Arts Festival was a brilliant one!  Two fantastic days of performances, workshops, pop up cinema, music and the famous Ceramic Garden were offered to the Sandwell public. We worked with volunteers whose enthusiasm helped to make the festival really special!

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO

CBC makes the most of SCVO’s connections particularly around knowledge of local relationships which connects the voluntary, the arts and cultural sector.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?

One of the most valuable lessons has been listening to what people wish to see in their area and working with Sandwell individuals and groups to help turn their arts and cultural ideas into reality.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

We have an exciting year ahead, keep an eye on our website, as we are currently firming up future events or better still sign up to our newsletter.

The challenges are no different to other organisation i.e. around funding and sustainability.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

SCVO can carry on supporting groups that CBC connects with and help us to spread the word about what’s happening in Sandwell which are linked to the activities that we are developing in partnership with others.

For more information on how to get involved please contact Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 or alternatively drop us a line via email at

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn FoundationNot-for-profit formally constituted organisations based and working in the UK can apply at any time for grants to encourage the development, use and sustainability of effective arts-based activities in education, in order to have a positive effect on children’s lives and learning.

Applicants that do not already have a track record in both the arts and work on access and participation, must have a strong partnership that possesses such skills.

Applications will be considered for projects that meet the following criteria:
• Takes place on or off school premises and in or out of school hours.

• Involves any of the following: crafts, creative writing (including poetry), dance, design, film, music, opera, photography, digital arts and media, theatre and drama, the visual arts, and cross-arts practices.

• Is about learning in arts subjects or uses arts-based approaches to achieve one or more of the following:
o teaches other subjects (e.g. teaching science through drama-based techniques, or maths by using music, or history through the study of paintings);
o supports other positive whole school outcomes; and
o supports students’ life skills and readiness to learn.

The PHF is particularly interested in funding:
• Work designed to achieve significant benefit for children and young people experiencing disadvantage, while adopting an inclusive/whole school approach.

• Work for the benefit of primary-age children.

• Work taking place in areas of social and economic deprivation outside of London.

There are two levels of funding:
• ‘Explore and Test’ grants of up to £60,000 for up to two years. Funding is designed to help explore and test both new approaches and ways of addressing new issues. Up to 20% of the grant may be allocated as a contribution to organisational running costs.

• ‘More and Better’ grants of up to £400,000 for up to four years. Funding is intended to help organisations, or the sector more broadly, to deliver more effective arts-based learning.

There is a rolling deadline, applications can be made at any time.  

More information can be found here.

Arts Access and Participation Fund

Paul Hamlyn FoundationThe Paul Hamlyn Fund has grants available for not-for-profit organisations, of any size, working anywhere in the UK, to test, implement and develop ambitious plans to widen access to and deepen participation in the arts. Priority will be given to projects working in areas of social and economic deprivation outside of London.

Two types of grant are available to support work at different stages of development:

The Access and participation ‘explore and test’ grants provide funding of up to £60,000 for up to two years to help test new approaches or gather evidence for the first time about approaches that have been used before.The deadline for application is 5th January 2016.

The Access and participation ‘more and better’ grants provide larger grants of up to £600,000 for up to four years to help increase the impact and effectiveness of work which has already shown promise or positive impact. The deadline for applications is the 1st March 2016.

Click here for further information


Paul Hamlyn Foundation unveils new grants strategy

Paul Hamlyn FoundationThe Paul Hamlyn Foundation has today launched its new strategy that will see the grant maker increase the amount it gives away each year from £20m to £25m.

As part of the new strategy it is opening an ‘ideas and pioneers’ fund and is “embracing risk” to look for individuals with innovative ideas to tackle major social issues. It will also offer more long-term grants of three to four years – in the past its typical grant lasted two to three years – and will have a new focus on collecting and sharing evidence around the impact of its grants.

Moira Sinclair, chief executive of the Foundation, told Civil Society News: “It is a strategy that builds on the history and values of Paul Hamlyn and takes account of where we are now in the 21st century.”

She added that it is “a good blend of interesting, exciting support for really innovative new ideas” as well as “providing core funding and supporting the delivery of existing programmes”.

Sinclair said: “Our mission is to help people who are experiencing disadvantage and lack of opportunity and address those issues so they can lead creative and fulfilling lives. That mission hasn’t changed much since Paul Hamlyn established the organisation but the context in which we are operating has, which is why a new strategy was needed.”

The Foundation has announced six priorities. They are:

1. Helping imaginative people nurture great ideas – this is one of the new areas and includes the ‘ideas and pioneers’ fund.
2. Widening access to participation in the arts – this is a continuation of the much of the work that Paul Hamlyn is known for, but there will be a more of a focus on building relationships outside London and ensuring that the Foundation is focused on disadvantaged people.
3. Education and learning in the arts – this also builds on previous work and will involve supporting the arts in schools, both in terms of developing arts skills and using the arts in other subject areas.
4. Evidence gathering through the arts – this is not an open fund; the Foundation will be supporting its grantees to capture and gather evidence, which it will use to show that the arts make a difference.
5. Supporting development and growth of organisations that invest in young people – PHF is looking to address the problems faced by young people who face a complex transition to adulthood and will target groups working with young people. It will also be exploring how it can offer non-monetary support as well as grants.
6. Improving support for young people who migrate and those affected by migration – the Foundation used to have a social justice fund and is sharpening the focus to support young people who have migrated and those who face change in their communities. It will be working with partners to make sure it is not duplicating the work of others but amplifying some of that good work

For further information, follow the link to the Foundations Website.

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