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The smallest RFOs will be protected from cuts, as the Arts Council of Wales seeks to mitigate a £1.5m reduction to its own budget.

Photo of Sinfonia Cymru musicians playing
An 89% funding uplift will help Sinfonia Cymru’s touring activities

Wales’ larger arts organisations are facing cuts as the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) contends with a £1.5m reduction to its own grant from the Welsh Government. 

The 24 Revenue Funded Organisations (RFOs) in receipt of the smallest grants will be spared from any reduction in funding.

Most of the Government cut, which amounts to 4.7% of ACW’s budget, is being passed on to Wales’ portfolio of 67 RFOs. ACW has allocated £25.8m of revenue funding for 2016/17, down from £27.1m in 2015/16, when it was shared between 68 organisations.

Organisations currently receiving more than £150k a year will have their funding cut by up to 3.5%. Those receiving the largest cuts include Welsh National Opera, which will receive £4.38m in 2016/17, £158.9k less than this year, and Wales Millennium Centre, which will receive £3.4m – a cut of £123.6k.

Announcing funding allocations to the newly designated Arts Portfolio Wales today, Chair Prof Dai Smith said: “This has been a challenging Investment Review process.”

Despite assurances last year that ACW would continue to fund its portfolio exclusively through Government grant in aid, the newly restructured National Youth Arts Wales (NYAW) will be supported through £350k of Lottery funding. ACW told AP: “The project-based nature of NYAW – which effectively reinvents itself each year – is better served through flexibility of the Lottery.

“The costs of this are marginal: less than 1% of the overall Lottery budget.”

Ballet Cymru and Sinfonia Cymru are the only organisations to receive an uplift in funding.

Ballet Cymru, which will receive £243,842 in 2016/17 – a 26% increase on this year – will be using the extra funds to continue its work making ballet inclusive and working with top choreographers.

At Sinfonia Cymru Chief Executive of Sophie Lewis welcomed the news of an 89% funding increase – it will receive £210,459 in 2016/17 – saying: “Today’s announcement allows the organisation to align revenue and lottery strands, particularly to support the orchestra's touring activities.”

Four new organisations are admitted into the portfolio:

  • Arts Alive, which will receive £75k in 2016/17;
  • Blackwood Miners Institute, which will receive £125k;
  • Jukebox Collective, which will receive £162k; and
  • Ystradgynlais Miners’ Welfare, which will receive £40k.

Demand for RFO funding in Wales far outstripped supply, with 94 organisations applying for £32.8m. The new portfolio of 67 RFOs was chosen through an Investment Review Process and will receive funding for the next five years.

ACW’s Chief Executive Nick Capaldi said: “Whether large or small, these are organisations who have demonstrated their commitment to quality and who strive constantly to find new ways of encouraging the people of Wales to enjoy and take part in the arts.”

The allocations announced today are subject to confirmation of Welsh Government funding to the Arts Council of Wales. The budget is expected to be confirmed in the Senedd on 8 March.

A photo of Frances Richens