A new initiative offering sustainable investment in arts and culture for young people has unlocked more than £750,000 to be used in the North East.
The funds have been leveraged through a programme called Partnership Investment, which is a key part of the work delivered by Culture Bridge North East to support children and young people to access high quality arts and cultural education.
Partnership Investment is an Arts Council England initiative that aims to secure new money for arts and culture through England’s 10 Bridge organisations, of which Culture Bridge North East is one. Rather than providing a grant, its ambition is to deliver sustainable investments that make a difference in children and young people’s lives, over the long term.
Throughout 2017, local organisations were invited to apply for a minimum of £25,000 that needed to be match funded by money that otherwise had not been earmarked or used for arts and cultural education. The response was overwhelming.
More than 20 organisations submitted plans to make a sustainable impact for children and young people to better connect with arts and culture, improving equality and enhancing personal outcomes. The applications were considered as part of a competitive process overseen by an advisory board made up of experts.
Six organisations were successful in securing match funding: Children and the Arts, New Writing North, Sunderland Culture, Rugby League Cares with Dance City, Gateshead Council, and ARC Stockton.
Culture Bridge North East Programme Manager Elvie Thompson said: “Collectively, these organisations are supporting thousands of local children through the development and delivery of a range of initiatives that look at issues and activities including mental health, sport and dance, story of change, acting and performing. A significant amount of research is also being undertaken as part of these programmes that will be shared across the community.
“Partnership Investment offers a unique and exciting opportunity to make an impact on cultural education. The quality and calibre of the proposals made the selection process very difficult. However, the organisations that were successful had fully appreciated and considered how their proposal may have an ongoing impact for the benefit of the community.”
One of the recipients, Anna Disley, Executive Director, Programme and Impact at New Writing North said: “This investment is hugely welcome from Culture Bridge North East.
“It has enabled us to build on the award-winning work we are doing at Excelsior Academy in Newcastle with our Young Writers City programme, by rolling it out in Academy 360 in Sunderland. It will also enable us to further disseminate the research from both programmes, and to celebrate and promote the young people’s creative work.”
Elvie added: “Moving forward, all Partnership investments will be made through Local Cultural Educational Partnerships, making the process more responsive to the needs of local communities and further enhancing partnership working.”
Alongside the six Partnership Investment initiatives, a legacy fund was established last year with the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, to support organisations that are unable to access match funding with smaller amounts of grant funding for arts and cultural education.
So far, seven organisations across the North East have been supported with up to £1,000, to facilitate access to arts and culture education. The Culture Bridge North East Fund will give grants on a regular basis in perpetuity, with the next deadline for applications 5pm on 21 May. Find out more at culturebridgenortheast.org.uk/news/culture-bridge-north-east-fund-open-to-applicants.
Find out more about Partnership Investment at culturebridgenortheast.org.uk/partnership-investment.