The second largest supporter of the arts in England after the Arts Council, local authorities offer discretionary support to individuals and organisations. Most councils have a designated arts department to oversee funding for this sector and support local arts events, venues and services. Some councils may also offer funding to artists through other departments, such as tourism, education and planning, so it is worth bearing this in mind when approaching your local authority to discuss funding. You can find out more information and contact details for Bristol City Council at www.bristol-city.gov.uk.
Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
The PFI was established in 1992 to increase the involvement of the private sector in the provision of public services. Local authorities can use PFI to support the development and refurbishment of arts projects, such as exhibition spaces, theatres and rehearsal spaces. Only local authorities can apply for a PFI grant, but individuals and organisations can approach their local authorities and work together to create a proposal for winning private backing, becoming a key stakeholder in long-term construction projects.
Adventure Capital Fund
The ACF aims to strengthen local communities by investing in organisations that work in and for those communities. It is a unique funding combination of three government departments plus several regional development agencies. As well as financial funding, it provides mentoring and business advice. Open only to organisations (not individuals) the ACF provides fund options from £25,000 to £400,000, in the shape of loans, equity and gift capital. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply at www.adventurecapitalfund.org.uk.
Other Government Department Funding
A number of government initiatives are in place which may have some scope for arts development. Aiming to regenerate deprived urban areas and tackle social problems, they may provide funding for arts projects which can offer creative solutions to such issues. Four key programmes include:
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) – improving deprived communities
New Deal for Communities (NDC) – improving deprived communities
Positive Activities for Young People – promotion of cultural activities during school holidays and out-of-school hours in deprived areas
Children’s Fund – scheme to ensure the talent of disadvantaged children is nurtured in deprived areas