The recent Arts Council of England award of £2.5m Arts Capital Lottery funding brings the Roundhouse Trust?s Lottery total to over £3m, and numbers the Arts Council among the four Lottery distributors who have endorsed the work of the Roundhouse Trust so far. Caroline Jones outlines the holistic approach to Lottery funding which has so far benefited the Roundhouse.
The Roundhouse Trust was set up in 1998 to oversee the redevelopment of the Grade II* Roundhouse in Camden, London, into a creative production and training centre for young people from all backgrounds and a uniquely adaptable venue, programming cutting edge, culturally diverse performance art and installation of all kinds. The proposals were conceived in 1996, just as the Lottery was emerging as a major source of public funding. Springing from its history as a community arts, performance and music venue, the Roundhouse scheme also aims to tackle social exclusion, celebrate cultural diversity and ensure equality of access and opportunity to all - coincidentally the backbone of the Lottery agenda.
The Roundhouse and the Lottery
As the project is relevant to the public funding sector as a whole, and not just the arts-specific streams, the Roundhouse adopted a holistic approach to Lottery funding and has been awarded grants from four of the six Lottery distributors. This is largely due to several key themes of the new Millennium - Education, Social Exclusion, Regeneration, Community and Technology ? being at the core of the Roundhouse proposals.
There are three immediate fundraising needs ? the capital redevelopment scheme, the outreach Community and Education programme, and revenue for running the Trust itself. This gives us the advantage of flexibility when assessing funding criteria and identifying how to approach a new funder - we can usually find something of resonance, revenue or capital, immediate or long-term, within the broad scope of our work. This is about standing far enough outside of your organisation to appraise it with the eyes of a funder ? perceive its outputs, sustainability and opportunities for development and innovation - without losing a sense of organisational purpose.
The Arts Lottery
The key aim of the Roundhouse is to develop creativity in young people and to platform the creativity of artists. The Arts Council of England?s (ACE) Capital Lottery Programme was therefore the obvious lead prospect, and the recent decision to award us £2.5m is as valuable for the crucial public endorsement as for the cash itself. The Roundhouse is proposing to deliver creative education on an in-house and outreach basis to thousands of the most socially excluded young people in London, across the broadest creative spectrum and using the best technology, equipment and expertise available. This, as well as a performance venue offering artists from around the world unparalleled adaptability in space, staging and seating, puts the scheme bang in line with the ACE criteria, which include developing work by and for young people, developing new models for art spaces and developing the use of new media and technology.
The Community Fund
Of a total of £9.2 billion Lottery funds spent to date in the UK, only £1.6 billion has been distributed through the Arts Councils of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland?s Capital, Stabilisation and Touring programmes. Yet many education programmes, community development initiatives and environmental regeneration schemes have the arts at their centre. The Community Fund, the New Opportunities Fund and the Millennium Commission all recognise and award monies to the benefit of arts activity and the skill of arts practitioners in helping them towards the Lottery aim of tackling disadvantage and improving quality of life.
The Roundhouse applied to the Community Fund (then National Lottery Charities Board) in 1999 for an outreach Community and Education Programme and was awarded £375,000 over 2 years. The thrust of this application was ?Access to Opportunity? and ?Community Capacity Building?. The Roundhouse Community and Education Programme is about to enter its second year and has surpassed its target number of young people, projects and partner organisations. This work is also feeding directly into the development of proposals for the future Creative Centre, test-tubing partners, policies and practices, whilst building a young user group who are defining what the Creative Centre will be through consultation and monitoring. The Community Fund grant is therefore impacting immediately on the young people and communities of Camden, as well as longer-term on the redevelopment proposals.
To supplement the Community Fund grant, we have made successful one off project applications to other Lottery initiatives, such as the Millennium Commission?s Millennium Festival and the National Foundation for Youth Music. By taking advantage of these cash?rich, time-limited funding programmes, we can expand and diversify the existing programme of work ? target new user groups who require specialist environments and support, take time to hot-house new ideas and projects, research and development new approaches to access and equal opportunities.
The New Opportunities Fund
When we were approached by the Department of Education and Employment and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) as a potential applicant for their joint multi-million pound Information Communication and Technology (ICT) initiative, it prompted us to develop our ICT strategy ? which didn?t at that stage go much further than a commitment to providing ?state of the art? facilities. The bidding process functioned as a kind of consultancy process: what equipment would we provide? Where, when and how would it be available? What activities, accreditation and support would be offered? This culminated in a strong strategy for providing young people and the community with access to the most important communication medium and dominant creative tool. The NOF element of the fund was specifically about how we would provide for the target group ? in our case socially excluded young people ? which again, forced us to address aspects of our planned service that needed developing.
The Heritage Fund
As a Grade II* listed building identified ?at risk? by English Heritage ? the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is an obvious Lottery pot for the Roundhouse. We are confident our pending application for £5m will be successful and will in turn lever a further £600,000 from other Heritage-focused funders. Whilst not every arts organisation has the advantage of an historic building to lever funds, the HLF runs initiatives for small environmental and regeneration projects, in which arts activity can play a role.
Playing the game
Such opportunism can prompt an accusation of being ?funding-led?. But in the current public funding climate ? with new funds rolling out in the wake of political initiative surrounding exclusion, regeneration, ethnic minorities and community development - an ability to map public funding, develop new programmes in response to emerging funding fads and a lateral interpretation of criteria ? is key to unlocking the vast amounts of public resource available for voluntary and arts sector organisations.
Furthermore, the leveraging power of Lottery awards, both in advance of and following a Lottery endorsement, applies whatever the size or nature of a Lottery grant. Now that the Roundhouse has the long-awaited ACE award, we are confident of raising a further £3m from Charity and Corporate givers, some of whom we have been in discussion with for the past three years. The Lottery?s match funding principle requires the applicant to have raised a certain level of funding or at least have a watertight strategy for where the remaining money will come from. We found that we were able to obtain several substantial pledges with promise of payment if the ACE money came through.
With the pending Heritage Lottery Fund bid and new bids being prepared to the Community Fund, Regional Arts Lottery Programme, and National Foundation for Youth Music, the Roundhouse is confident of bringing its total Lottery funding close to £9m by 2002.When you consider the scope of the project, the scale of provision, the potential for roll out, the programming and commissioning possibilities and the benefits for the target group, this seems like a good deal for all involved.
Caroline Jones is Fundraising Manager at the Roundhouse t: 020 7424 9991 e: email@example.com