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A radical solution in an age of austerity

July 8, 2013

I’m proud to announce that we have launched our Newcastle Culture Investment Fund.

This is a grant fund that will support independent cultural organisations working in Newcastle and will be run as a partnership between the council and the Community Foundation.

We worked closely with the city’s arts sector and Arts Council England North East to develop the investment fund which will receive direct city council funding of £600,000 per year.

The fund was formed as a response to cuts in Government funding, which meant we had to review every area of revenue expenditure.

We worked with the cultural sector to find a way to remove arts funding from the council’s annual budget pressures and make it more sustainable.

It’s a smarter and better way to fund the arts. For example, organisations must demonstrate how their applications will improve Newcastle’s health and wellbeing and contribute to the council’s core priorities.

The fund is paid for from interest payments from city council investments and we will also encourage contributions from the private sector and from individuals.

It is a radical solution to the arts funding dilemma because it removes culture from the annual pressures of revenue funding, where it will always lose out to more immediate priorities.

Newcastle has a proud history of creating great art and I’m proud that we’ve worked closely with the city’s cultural sector to come up with our new fund.

I want others to show their commitment to our city’s arts heritage by contributing as well.

The Community Foundation will hold and manage the fund on the council’s behalf and the board responsible for awarding grants will be chaired by Fiona Ellis, a former director of the Northern Rock Foundation.

The Culture Investment Fund provides evidence that the council listens and works with other partners to come up with different solutions that work in a climate of austerity.

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