Visual art charity takes prime site with six-figure funding

Derby-based visual art charity Artcore has acquired new premises in the city centre after securing a six-figure funding package from NatWest.

The charity, originally founded in India in 1993 to support aspiring artists, has acquired a two-storey, 4000 sq ft retail unit previously occupied by Laura Ashley. The new larger premises complement the charity’s existing site on Charnwood Street, where it has been based since 2012.

The £189,000 funding provided by NatWest will help the charity transform the site into a fit for purpose community art centre which will be the only one of its kind. The centre will provide space to hold exhibitions to showcase the work of artists from across Derby, the UK and overseas.

Artcore will also run interactive workshops to encourage the uptake of arts and crafts among the city residents, and the premises will also include a creative café and arts and craft supplies shop.

The charity currently employs 12 people and will now recruit further members of staff, including a gallery manager, retail assistants and café staff. It will also offer internship and volunteering opportunities across the year for young people in the community from its new site.

Zahir Shaikh, artistic director at Artcore, said:

“The support we received from NatWest to open our new premises has been invaluable. We wouldn’t have been able to take these new premises – right at the gateway of this city’s cultural quarter – without the bank’s help. Its knowledgeable team helped us understand the process and take the steps needed to facilitate the deal without any problems.

“Securing this site is fantastic news for the charity and will help us provide a bigger platform for aspiring artists. Our mission is to help build community cohesion through the medium of art, helping to initiate a dialogue through the work of artists and celebrating the diversity of both artists and art itself. To do that, we’ll be focusing on four key themes; art in the community; art in education; art in modern culture and art in health and wellbeing to help demonstrate the importance of art and the transformative effect it can have.”

Paul Mills, relationship manager at NatWest, said:

“Artcore is a fantastic charity, which does great work to provide the support and platform emerging artists need. The new site we have helped the charity to acquire will help further support the arts in Derby and provide a great space for the city’s art community to celebrate its talent and diversity. We became aware of the funding requirement when it was referred to our broker development manager Andre Parcian by Beta Commercial Finance Ltd, and it’s been very rewarding to have been able to help. I look forward to seeing the charity continue its great work from its new premises in the city centre.”

Artcore is now crowdfunding to complete the second phase of refurbishment at its new site, which will improve disabled access to the building’s first floor and improve its energy efficiency. Details of Artcore’s fundraising efforts can be found at: