Three English arts organisations, including a theatre, dance company and a social enterprise, are set to increase arts training, participation and education for young people, with new funding from Nesta-run arts and culture funds.
£650,000 of investment is to be shared between the three organisations who are the latest tranche of organisations to receive the repayable funding, also known as social impact investment, drawn from two Nesta funds. They will each use the investment to develop facilities and offerings for young people in their communities.
The projects receiving the social impact investment are:
Two of the projects - Effervescent and Mercury Theatre are both receiving funds that have been repaid by other arts organisations since the launch of the Arts Impact Fund in 2015 and undrawn commitments recycling back into the fund. IRIE! Dance Theatre has received its funding from the Cultural Impact Development Fund.
Combined, the Arts Impact Fund and the Cultural Impact Development Fund have provided repayable loans to 30 organisations in the arts and culture sector, totalling £9m since 2015. Titchfield Festival Theatre, the Arts Impact Fund’s first investee, used a £150,000 loan to upgrade its unorthodox theatre space - a former warehouse dating back to the 1960s - which it managed to repay one year ahead of schedule.
Seva Phillips, Nesta’s Head of Arts and Culture Finance, said:
“Over 70% of our borrowers in the arts and culture sector work with children and young people in some form - from developing their creative skills to instilling self-confidence. The three organisations we’ve announced today are fantastic examples of this.”
“The fact that these new investments have been funded largely by repayments from our existing portfolio shows that social impact investment can work in the arts and culture sector. At the same time, it’s important that it is not expected to replace grant funding, particularly for those organisations whose operating models have fewer opportunities for earned income.”
The £7m Arts Impact Fund blended public, private and charitable funding, with its investment coming from Arts Council England, Bank of America, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, and additional support from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The £3.7m Cultural Impact Development Fund is supported by Access (The Foundation for Social Investment through the Growth Fund programme), with finance being provided by its partners The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital.
Notes to editor
1. Images from all the projects are available on request and representatives from Nesta and the projects are available for interview.
2. Full case studies of each project funded are available on the Nesta website (linked below):
● Effervescent: a social enterprise and registered charity who collaborate with children and young people to co-produce beautiful, truthful creative campaigns that make the world a little bit better.
● IRIE! Dance Theatre: the UK’s leading dance theatre providing creative, educational and artistic activities in African and Caribbean dance for the local community and emerging and professional dance artists.
● Mercury Theatre: a major producing theatre for the Essex region that focuses on developing new talent and supporting young people.
3. Quotes from the funded organisations
“In particular, their support has enabled us to create for the very first time in our history an on-site rehearsal room, a dedicated community and education space, a professional standard dance studio, increased dressing room capacity and improved technical and digital resources. All of these resources will enable us to retain high quality artistic standards, offer opportunities for new and emerging local and regional artists, expand our training and apprenticeship offer and provide space for young people and our community partners.”
4. Nesta runs two arts and culture finance funds. Both use social impact investment to support arts and cultural organisations that benefit the lives of individuals, communities and society through their work. The two funds are the Arts Impact Fund and the Cultural Impact Development Fund.
5. Nesta also runs the Impact Investment Fund, a £17.6m fund investing in life-changing innovations that help tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children and communities in the UK.
Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We've spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we've applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts. Nesta is based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment. We work with partners around the globe to bring bold ideas to life to change the world for good.