Arts organisations outside of ACE’s national portfolio will only have access to capital funding over £100k in “exceptional circumstances”.
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Arts organisations outside Arts Council England’s (ACE) national portfolio have had access to larger capital grants curtailed under the new rules for its small capital grants programme.
While National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) are still able to bid for up to £500k through the programme, non-NPOs are no longer eligible to apply. Their only access to grants for capital projects will be through the National Lottery Project Grants scheme, the successor to ACE’s Grants for the Arts programme.
Grants over £100k will only be made from this fund in “exceptional circumstances” and non-NPOS will need permission from ACE to apply for projects at this level, or for capital grants of over £15k.
ACE has released an information sheet detailing what is and is not an eligible bid.
Explaining the change, an ACE spokesperson said the small capital programme has “always prioritised NPOs” and organisations from outside the portfolio were required to seek permission to apply.
“With a larger national portfolio in 2018-22, more organisations than ever before will be eligible to apply to small capital as NPOs. This includes the 183 organisations that are new to the portfolio, many of which are Band 1 and are smaller and more diverse organisations,” they added.
ACE also confirmed the size of the small capital grants budget for 2018/19 is £11.3m, up from £9.6m in 2017/18, but stressed this was a result of integrating previous money set aside for museums rather than an increased budget.
Concerns remain about levels of competition for grants, following a collapse in lottery funding in 2017 and 2016.
The amount budgeted for Project Grants for 2018-22 is £97.3m a year, an increase on the £75m available through Grants for the Arts in 2017/18. Although £14m of this is reserved for “nationally significant or national touring projects of £100k and above” and will not be used to finance capital bids.
The remaining £83.3m, which represents a fall of 5% from the amount ACE originally earmarked for 2018-22 project funding in 2016, will be subject to competition from artists and organisations of all sizes seeking funding for both performance and capital activity.
Commenting on the altered eligibility for the small capital programme, Dana Segal, Co-Director for Adapt For Arts, wrote on Twitter it was “sad to see this isn’t open to non-NPOs”.
“Lots of brilliant regional orgs who could do with this kind of help,” she added.
Update 11/04/2018: This article was edited to clarify how the amount budgeted for Project Grants has changed.