Why are we doing this?
The arts play an essential role in our everyday lives, our cultural identity and our economy. They create opportunity, jobs and valuable income for our communities. They can also have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives and address some of our most pressing social issues.
We want to support more arts organisations with social aims to achieve sustainable growth and increase their social impact.
By focusing on both artistic and social outcomes, we want to promote the wider positive impact art has on society and support more organisations to benefit individuals and communities through their work. Our hope is that this demonstrator fund will also attract more social investors to the arts to benefit the wider sector.
What are we doing?
Working alongside Bank of America Merill Lynch and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and with support from Arts Council England and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, we have launched the £7million Arts Impact Fund.
The fund is the first of its kind to focus on the social, artistic and financial return created by arts-based organisations. It provides repayable finance between £150,000 and £600,000 to arts organisations in England with ambitions to grow, achieve great artistic quality and have a positive impact on society.
Arts organisations will need to demonstrate how they will repay the loan and that they can achieve social impact in one of the areas (youth and educational attainment; community and citizen; health and well-being).
In April 2016 we announced the fund's first three investments:
- South East Dance – £350,000: the Brighton based dance agency will use the loan to bridge fundraising and allow work to start on its new hub The Dance Space. The new building will provide a rental income from its studio and office space, reducing the need for public funding and supporting its work with local artists and community development programme.
- Titchfield Festival Theatre – £150,000: run by volunteers the theatre group will use the funding to repair and improve the functionality of one of its two venues to grow its rental income and allow it to install solar panels. Excess energy will be sold back to the grid. The improvements will support the group’s theatre education programme and free ticketing to local schools.
- Bow Arts Trust - £600,000: a London based organisation providing affordable studio space for artists and education programmes in local schools will use a loan from the Fund to purchase and develop property on its own balance sheet. The committee approved the offer of a credit facility to Bow Arts, allowing the organisation to approach property development opportunities with financing already in place.
The fund was created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was convened with the help of the Cabinet Office, to demonstrate the significant social value created by arts organisations and support their work through loan finance.
To find out more about the Arts Impact Fund, which organisations are eligible to apply, windows for funding and what types of funding are available visit www.artsimpactfund.org