Thursday, 18 July 2024
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Thursday, 18 July 2024

Arts for Impact campaign launches to bring much-needed funds to cultural sector

Arts for Impact campaign launches to bring much-needed funds to cultural sectorBIG Give, the UK’s most successful match funding platform, is launching its inaugural arts-focused fundraising campaign today, in partnership with New Philanthropy for Arts & Culture (NPAC), a network of arts supporters who are passionate about increasing philanthropic support of the arts and culture sector.

Until Tuesday, 26th March, the campaign will match donations to 239 arts charities across the UK, multiplying the public’s generosity. A variety of different art forms which have a social impact in their local communities are being funded, including music, theatre, dance, visual arts, museums, galleries and literature.

The arts sector has long benefited from a blended funding model, combining public and private support. In the face of recent cuts to local authority funding of the arts across the country, the cost of living crisis and other challenges, the opportunity to seek philanthropic support becomes ever more important. NPAC has been developing partnerships in specific locations across England to build place-based networks of support for arts and culture organisations.

The Arts For Impact campaign aims to address the difficult economic realities facing UK arts and culture organisations. The charities taking part have been allocated match funding totalling £1.25m from Big Give’s champion donors, including The Reed Foundation, Arts Council England (via Stoke Creates), West Midlands Combined Authority and many generous individual philanthropists.  The portfolio of high-impact charities selected are making a transformational societal impact on the lives of the people engaging with the charity.

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Big Give and NPAC have focused on ensuring that funds and support are being spread across the country and to as wide a group of charities as possible, particularly those that are small-scale. 159 (or 66%) of the charities participating have an income of £1m or less. 76% of funding is going to charity projects working in regions outside of London.

A number of celebrities are also backing the campaign, including Simon Cowell (supporting the London Music Fund), Julia Donaldson (supporting Stratford Literary Festival), Julian Lloyd Webber (supporting The Nucleo Project), Adrian Lester (supporting The Primary Shakespeare Company), Katie Derham (supporting Music in Hospitals & Care), Clive Rowe (supporting Shapeshifter Productions), and Samira Ahmed (supporting New Earth Theatre Limited).

The following are case studies from some participating charities highlighting the pressing need to continue supporting arts and culture organisations:

  • With school and family finances under extreme pressure, fewer and fewer children are getting the chance to learn a musical instrument. The Nucleo Project runs a free, immersive community programme in North Kensington and Westminster, making musical education accessible for any child or young person aged 0-20. With 443 young people enrolled in the programme, and a waiting list of over 300, they shared, ‘Our challenge is that to grow sustainably: we need to be able to raise more not just on a one-off basis, but on an ongoing basis to sustain new sites once they are developed. Becoming a musician doesn’t happen after a taster session, or a weekend event, or six months of classes. It happens over a period of years, and when young people are committed to learning and practising, we, too are committed to sustaining the learning opportunity.’
  • Back To Ours delivers outstanding arts and cultural experiences with and for the people of Hull. 94% of their audiences/participants are from low-income/low-engagement groups, 20% are disabled or have long-term health issues, and 10% of audiences are of global majority/minority ethnic background. Through free/low-cost, hyper-local delivery, they help break down social and economic barriers to high-quality arts, improving quality of life. ‘On Bransholme estate in northeast Hull, an area with high levels of social isolation and loneliness, we’ve worked with local residents since 2017, listening to their ideas of what the area needs. We’ve helped them to raise funds to transform a disused shop unit in Northpoint Shopping Centre into ‘Bransholme Chat’, a welcoming cultural and community space with a daily programme of arts and social activities. Since opening in the summer of 2018, over 10,000 local people have walked through the door to see specially commissioned exhibitions and events.’
  • Stratford Literary Festival works with authors and illustrators to encourage a love of books and writing, and to educate and improve well-being in schools. They said, ‘1 in 15 children and young people aged 8 to 18 do not have a book of their own at home; children who are the most engaged with literacy are 3 times more likely to have higher levels of mental well-being than children who are the least engaged. I think it is often overlooked what impact the arts can have on social and/or education concerns. It is also often hard to make a case highlighting the benefit of enrichment, such as our literacy projects on reading and children’s long-term life chances. It can be difficult to communicate the impact an arts organisation can have on learning and the curriculum and the benefit of professional arts organisation going into schools – during school time.’

James Reed CBE, Chair of Trustees for Big Give, said: 

“Today marks the culmination of many months of hard work to launch this important campaign. Arts charities play a central and crucial role in the lives of the people they support, and their time and services are being called upon now more than ever. They have endured many cuts and disappointments, so securing funding for the charities from our match funders and the public is especially important. I am pleased that today is the start of our financial fight back, and I hope the campaign is widely and generously supported.”

Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of NPAC, said:

“I am delighted to see this campaign come to fruition and through it to empower 239 arts organisations across the country to participate in this matched funding campaign. NPAC’s focus is on building philanthropic support for arts and culture, and I hope many philanthropists will join me in supporting this new initiative, and enable the powerful work of all these organisations to continue.”

Tonya Nelson, Executive Director, Enterprise and Innovation, Arts Council England, said:

“This wonderful initiative will enable new partnerships and income for smaller arts and cultural organisations. We are excited to see how the campaign inspires individuals to donate, powered by the incentive of doubling their donations through the support of Big Give.”

Julia Donaldson, CBE, acclaimed author of The Gruffalo and The Bowerbird, said:

“School libraries are beneficial to education and to society as a whole, narrowing the gap in aspiration and ability in children. As Patron of Stratford Literary Festival’s Outreach work, I am very keen to support this campaign.”


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