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In the year since Arts Council England announced its funding decisions for 2023-26, the number of organisations shutting down after unsuccessful bids has hit double digits.

A performance of 8 Songs for a Mad King by Psappha
Classical ensemble Psappha announced its closure in May after losing £250,000 a year in ACE funding
Photo: 

University of Salford

A total of 10 organisations that failed in their bid for Arts Council England funding as part of the National Portfolio have announced plans to close in the 12 months since the decisions were announced.

Figures collated by Arts Professional show that at least six former NPOs have either closed or have signalled their intention to close after missing out on investment. One announced plans to close, but is now continuing to operate in skeleton form ahead of a proposed move to a new venue in three years' time. 

Meanwhile, a further three organisations that were not part of the National Portfolio but unsuccessfully applied are also shutting down.

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The true figure is likely to be higher as details of which organisations had their applications rejected have not been publicly released.

Portfolio organisations in the previous investment round which have closed, or announced plans to close, since the funding decisions for 2023-2026 were announced on 4 November 2022 are: Unlimited Theatre company; Third Angel theatre; Side Gallery; Theatre BristolPsappha; and Creativity Works.

Oldham Coliseum closed its historic town centre location earlier this year, having missed out on ACE funding, but is continuing to work in the community on a smaller scale ahead of a planned move to a new venue in 2026.

Meanwhile, Greenwich DanceWildcard Theatre Company and Curious Monkey, which were not part of the previous portfolio but applied for the 2023-26 Investment Programme, have also taken the decision to close.

Competition to be part of the 2023-26 National Portfolio was fierce, with ACE receiving a record 1,730 applications. The National Portfolio now stands at 986 organisations - including more than 270 new members.

In total, 130 organisations previously funded through the portfolio missed out on funding and 610 organisations that were not part of the previous 2018-22 portfolio were not offered funding.

'Sector facing difficulties'

An Arts Council England spokesperson said: “This time last year, we announced our biggest and most varied portfolio to date: investing over £444m a year in nearly 1,000 organisations of all sizes, across all artforms, up and down the country.  

"With 1,700 applications, it was our most competitive round, and with the budget available to us we had to make difficult decisions between good applications to support all types of cultural work while making sure our public investment reached more people, in more places. 

"For those with changes to their funding we made a package of support available, awarding £18.9m to over 100 organisations to help them adapt.  

"We understand organisations across the sector are facing difficulty now, from rising costs to the sector's continued recovery from the pandemic.

"We will continue to do all we can to support them and make the case for future investment, so the cultural sector can continue to provide world class creativity for communities everywhere.” 

Comments

I work for one of those unsuccessful organisations that isn't yet included in those numbers, Golden Tree Productions in Cornwall (https://goldentree.org.uk/). Our irony is that we had the project funding secured but just not core costs and so we are having to say no to that project funding. Sad times indeed.

Artworks Bradford has closed down and disability arts organisation Artlink in Leeds: "'It is with much regret that after over forty-four years as a community arts charity Artlink West Yorkshire will be closing in the Spring of 2024." Both former NPO organisations with their funding not renewed by ACE in the last round... (in Artlink's case after 40 years of revenue and capital support)