The UK’s arts, cultural and heritage institutions are a global success story. These sectors provide creative opportunities, jobs and valuable income for our communities; they also have the power to transform people’s lives, engage marginalised individuals and drive social change.
Through five years of running the Arts Impact Fund, we have found that social impact investment can help build resilient, innovative and sustainable creative organisations, and help organisations to grow and innovate faster.
Building on the success of the Arts Impact Fund and the Cultural Impact Development Fund, we want to support even more arts organisations with social aims to achieve sustainable growth and increase their impact.
We have launched the new £23 million Arts & Culture Impact Fund, together with Big Society Capital, Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Bank of America, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Freelands Foundation.
The new Arts & Culture Impact Fund is our biggest fund to date and the world’s largest social impact investment fund for the arts, culture and heritage sectors.
The UK-wide fund will invest at least £23 million in organisations of all sizes in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors demonstrating a clear social impact, from arts and heritage organisations to museums and libraries.
This fund aims to support arts, cultural and heritage organisations to become more enterprising and financially resilient. We take a relationship-centred approach, structuring finance to meet the needs of individual organisations.
Socially driven arts and cultural organisations of all sizes across the UK are invited to apply for loans between £150,000 and £1 million, with a 10-year repayment period.
Alongside the investment capital, investees can also benefit from a tailored package of support from Nesta and our partners, including business insights and opportunities.
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.
Find out more and apply on the Arts & Culture Finance website.
This new fund builds on the work of the Arts Impact Fund. The Arts Impact Fund was the first of its kind to focus on the social, artistic and financial return created by arts organisations. It provided 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.
Together with our partners, between July 2015 and September 2019, we committed £8.8 million across 27 enterprising arts organisations, spanning dance, theatre, museums and more. The Arts Impact Fund was created and funded by Bank of America, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Previous investees have been supported by the fund to deliver social impact at scale. For example, Titchfield Festival Theatre took a loan from the Arts Impact Fund in 2015 to embark on a renovation programme of its theatre space, a former warehouse dating back to the 1960s. The renovations included the installation of an energy-efficient heating system, a new roof and an array of interior refurbishments to make the theatre a more comfortable venue. In the years between drawing down the loan and its repayment, which came one year ahead of schedule, Titchfield Festival Theatre has more than doubled its income, grown the value of its fixed assets by more than 25 per cent and its reserves by 20 per cent.
The fund offered unsecured loans, offering organisations access to finance that may not be readily accessible via traditional routes, and was backed by a unique blend of public, private and charitable funders, increasing the capital and leveraging the networks and knowledge.
The new Arts & Culture Impact Fund builds on this work, bringing new partners on board, an investment pool of £23 million, and an expanded remit: the new fund is open to organisations of all sizes across the UK that are seeking finance, including heritage organisations for the first time.
Find out more about the new Arts & Culture Impact Fund and submit your enquiry on the Arts & Culture Finance website.