Lottery cash will enable fifty-five English arts organisations to modernise, refurbish and improve their financial resilience.


Samuel M. Livingston

Thirty-five organisations will share £12m being made available in the first round of Arts Council England’s (ACE) small capital grants scheme, which is designed to fund small scale refurbishment, modernisation or new equipment worth between £100k and £500k. Grants for wide-ranging projects go to organisations across the country, including Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, which will spend £500k on transforming a Grade II listed former police station into a space for inter-disciplinary collaborative projects; Ballet Boyz, which will buy £100k of dance and digital media equipment for its new studio base in London; Tyneside Cinema, which will use its £499k to create a dedicated video art space , performance venue and cafe in a vacant retail unit; and Theatre by the Lake in Cumbria, which will invest £400k in a low-carbon-footprint catering and retail facility to develop a long-term income stream for the theatre and its activities.

Twenty further organisations have been selected to go through to the second round of ACE’s two-stage application process for large capital project grants of over £500k. The highest of the successful bids is from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, applying for £7.5m to support the refurbishment of the grade II listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the reconfiguration of the Peter Moores Wing. Others include Brighton Dome Ltd, which has applied for £5.8m to renovate and reduce running costs at its venues, and Soft Touch Arts, which wants to use £650k to create a participatory arts centre for young people in Leicester city centre. Those who have been successful so far will have 18 months to prepare plans showing a detailed stage of design and development. The Capital programme is financed by the Lottery, and as such is additional to any grant funding that organisations receive to cover their core costs.  


It is very good to hear that these 35 organisations have won capital funding. As a former assessor for capital grants, I am sure that these organisations will use the funds for strategic development. Close monitoring and evaluation will also be beneficial for them. Congratulations to all winners.