Worcestershire Arts Partnership Blog

Monday, 16 March 2015

Latest news- New Arts Impact Fund to Offer Loans to Arts Organisations in England

Arts organisations in England that need additional finance to grow can apply for loans of between £150,000 and £600,000 from the new £7 million Arts Impact Fund starting from 15 April 2015.

The Arts Impact Fund is a new £7 million two-year pilot scheme set up to demonstrate the potential for social investment in arts.

The Fund wants arts organisations to see social investment as another route to sustainability and achieving their ambitions and to encourage more of them to benefit people and communities through their work.

It has been created and funded by Nesta, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with support from the Arts Council England and additional funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Cabinet Office. This is the first fund of its kind that has brought together public, private and charitable investment to support arts organisations.

Online applications can be made starting from the middle of next month for unsecured loans ranging from £150,000 to £600,000. Interest rates and terms for loans will vary but applicants can broadly expect interest rates to range from 4% to 7% per annum, and the loan duration to be between three and five years. The terms and conditions will be negotiated with individual applicant organisations and can include interest and capital payment holidays.

The funding is open to arts organisations with regulated legal structures that have a charitable purpose. This means arts organisations should have the following legal structures: a registered charity, a company limited by guarantee, a community interest company (CIC) or community interest organisation (CIO).

Applicants should also be able to show that:

·        Their primary activity is in the arts.

·        Their organisation is (or could be) sustainable.

·        They can repay the loan.

·        Their organisation’s activities meet at least one of the priority social areas:

o   Citizen and Community

o   Youth and Educational Attainment

o   Health and Wellbeing.

The funding can be used for a number of different things, including purchasing or refurbishing a building, buying equipment or paying for specific services to help generate future income.

Successful applicants will be announced every six months over a two year period with their performance and social impact measurements published.

Once the two-year pilot has concluded the organisations hope to establish where demand is long-term, whether a larger fund could be set up, or if it could be expanded to other areas.

Commenting on the new fund, Nesta’s Executive Director Helen Goulden said:

“It has never been more important to think imaginatively about how to increase access to finance for arts organisations. The Arts Impact Fund not only opens up opportunities for social investment for the whole sector, but brings together public, charitable and private finance in support of that mission. These first two years will be critical to understanding the long-term potential of impact funds of this kind to support the arts.”

Full details can be found on Nesta’s website

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