National Lottery awards £13.7m for community projects

30 Jun 2022

Six projects designed to support heritage, culture and nature have received funding from the National Lottery to help communities recover from the impact of the pandemic. 

A total of £13.7m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been allocated, including £2.1m to Leeds Culture Trust for its Leeds 2023 project, a creative programme that aims to "let culture loose" across the whole city. 

The funding will be used to help uncover hidden community stories, celebrate art, music, dance and industrial history; reconnect people with nature; explore the traditions and role of different cultures in Leeds.

Meanwhile, Derbyshire Dales District Council has been awarded £1m for its Hurst Farm Heritage Trail project.

And Blyth Tall Ship has been awarded £636,600 for its Blyth Heritage Community Response project, which will provide group activities to develop their skills and improve their own wellbeing and employability.

Other beneficiaries are Redruth Revival for its project Redruth Buttermarket: Rediscovering the Market Town, the Tweed Forum for its Destination Tweed: Source to Sea Restoration and Revitalisation project, and NatureScot for its Species on the Edge project.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “I am delighted that we were able to support these exciting projects, which put heritage at the heart of people and places. 

"It is so uplifting to see the continued ambition in the light of the impact of the pandemic and ongoing challenges, protecting our precious heritage and supporting communities to recover and thrive."

Rural art projects in Northern Ireland get £1.5m boost

Young people taking part in workshops run by arts organisation Glasgowbury
13 Jun 2022

New art fund launches to address needs of local rural communities as they emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Welsh government defends £4.25m purchase of farm for Green Man festival

30 May 2022

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has defended the Welsh Government's decision to spend £4.25m on a piece of land for the Green Man festival.

The Welsh Government has previously said that the purchase of Gilestone Farm in Powys was intended to ensure Green Man has a "permanent home" in Wales, but the festival organisers have said they have no plans to move from their current home at the Glanusk Estate near Crickhowell.

The festival is understood to want to use the farm for sustainable farming and local food production but no business plan has yet been submitted to the Welsh Government by the festival's organisers and will not be provided until next month.

Speaking in the Welsh Senedd in response to questioning by Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, Drakeford said those running the festival believe that they can do more to contribute to the economy of that part of Wales, "building on the success of their business".

"To do that they need more space in which to be able to develop those further possibilities. That's what lies behind the arrangements," he said.

Drakeford said that in the short term the farm will be leased back to the original owner in order that they can complete the bookings that they have in their tourism hospitality business and to make sure that the crops that have been planted are harvested this year.

"From the very beginning, we knew that the businesses plan from those who are responsible for the festival would be delivered to the Welsh Government in June of this year, and that is what we still expect," Drakeford added. 

"We are working with a trusted partner. We are working with a company that the Welsh Government has known and worked alongside over an extended period of time, as it has grown to be the fifth most successful festival of its kind anywhere in the United Kingdom. 

"We hold the land against the business plan and we will continue to scrutinise the business plan to see whether the objectives that the company have discussed with us can be delivered through it."

Open letter to Darren Henley: from the coalface

14 Mar 2022

Doesn't ACE realise that smaller NPOs are fighting for their very survival? Surely it does. So, says Ian Kerry, that must mean it is choosing to do nothing about it.

South Lakeland pens £374k for culture

07 Mar 2022

Twelve arts and culture organisations in Cumbria’s South Lakes are set to share £374,300 over the next two years.

South Lakeland District Council’s funding is part of a five year commitment to "strategic cultural partners" it says has helped attract more than £35m of investment to the district thus far.

The 12 organisations span theatre, music, visual arts and festivals. Kendal Brewery Arts, a facility with two cinemas, drama studio and theatre, received the largest grant of £67,500.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, portfolio holder for economy, culture and leisure, says the council recognises the value of public investment in culture: “[It] has helped to promote South Lakeland as a great place to live work and do business and as a leading rural cultural destination.”

Taking art to rural Europe

Magnitudini by Michela Paolini
01 Mar 2022

A unique organisation that works in the rural communities of Somerset has expanded its horizons to Europe. Ralph Lister shares the story.

£38.3m for ACE’s Creative People and Places

group of people stand in front of a murial
07 Dec 2021

Eleven new projects join the programme, all located in areas rated as ‘high need’ for cultural investment.

Museums tackling loneliness

image of museum
01 Sep 2021

In rural areas such as Cornwall, the pandemic has exacerbated loneliness, with vulnerable people losing their sense of community. Emmie Kell thinks museums can be part of the solution.

59% of local authorities report budget increase

Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery
26 Aug 2021

English councils cite the ongoing recovery from Covid-19 as driving both increases and decreases in their budgets.

A ‘big hug’ in isolated places

People sitting in a garden watching a speaker socially distanced
19 May 2021

Rural touring has never been more innovative than it was in 2020. Holly Lombardo asks what comes next for a sector that fulfils exactly what funders are asking for?

Why lockdown works for rural arts

Clayhill Arts building. A converted barn in a rural landscape with hay bales in the foreground
10 Nov 2020

Deborah and Michael Parkes say lockdown presents challenges to budding rural artists. It also gives them an abundance of two things they once lacked – connectivity and time.

Local venues could be key to keeping audiences engaged

Back to Blackbrick
22 May 2020

Rural touring could win back audiences first, as confidence in village hall venues is higher than for other types of auditorium, research finds.

Rural touring schemes suffer heavy burden from cancelled performances

Empty stage with a period backdrop with the word 'Pennygaff' in the background and a chair in the foreground with a 'closed' sign on top
17 Apr 2020

The number of event cancellations at small rural venues is placing “an immense personal toll” on those who programme professional artists and companies in community settings.

When your audience is also part of the crew

A photo of a village hall with tables of people sitting down
12 Mar 2020

Working with rural communities to stage small-scale performances is good for the arts, the environment and local people, writes Sophie Motley.

A tale of two regions? Engaging arts audiences in the West Midlands

A photo of band performing on a brightly lit stage
13 Feb 2020

Striking differences between urban and rural areas make a strong case for a dual regional policy, argue Anne Torreggiani and Zoe Papiernik-Bloor.

Celebrating local excellence

07 Nov 2019

We spend too much time trying to learn lessons from cities and apply them in other places, argues Brendan Keaney. It’s time to recognise that creative powerhouses can come in all shapes and sizes – and not always where you might expect.

Job ladder: John Laidlaw

A Live & Local performance
23 Sep 2019

The Executive Director of Live & Local recalls a career trajectory that has taken him through Butlins, an old bingo venue and many, many village halls.

Your questions answered on ACE's new strategy

A choir performing out the front of the Fitzwilliam Museum
16 Sep 2019

Arts Council England’s policy leads respond to questions on its plans for the next ten years.

10 tips for making collaborative leadership work

Group of people meeting at a conference table
12 Sep 2019

An approach that prioritises trust, values and flexibility has helped museums in Cornwall share knowledge and expertise across a dispersed rural network, writes Emmie Kell.

Five years left for rural arts?

A photo of a dance performance in a hall
05 Sep 2019

England’s rural arts leaders have serious concerns about the future of their organisations and are calling for more support – whether through Arts Council funding, partnerships with city-based venues or organisational development schemes.


Subscribe to Rural