Funding available for community projects in Harlow

INDIVIDUALS, voluntary organisations and community groups with a vision to host a community arts or heritage activity in Essex this year could gain much needed funding from Essex County Council’s ‘Culture in Essex – Small Grants Scheme’.

With an aim to increase opportunities for more Essex residents to get involved in art and cultural activities in Essex, a fund of £25,000 opens for grant applications this week (9 January 2017). Applicants will be encouraged to use the funding as a springboard to attract additional support from other funders.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, said: “Support for Culture and Arts remains important even in times of extreme financial challenge. Essex County Council’s strategic collaboration with Arts Council England has resulted in a major increase in the flow of funds into the county. This scheme, pitched particularly at community groups, is a further weapon in our armoury and I encourage applications from across the county and particularly from those who have not applied before.”

Over the last three years, the Council has invested £142,000 in over 75 projects such as music festivals, carnivals, exhibitions and workshops featuring visual arts, music, dance and literature. This investment generated more than £500,000 additional funding from national bodies such as Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Cllr John Spence, added: “As well as involving and inspiring so many Essex residents, we know that supporting arts and culture in Essex is a great way to boost our economy. Every £1 we invest via these awards, generates a further £5 in match-funding or help in kind, proving how a vibrant cultural life and a thriving economy can go hand in hand.”

Johnno Casson of the Warm and Toasty Club based in Colchester, was recently awarded a £2,000 Culture in Essex small grant and secured a further £15,000 via Arts Council England, for Coast to Coast: a project touring retirement establishments in the Tendring district with reminiscence, music and arts.

Johnno said: “Being awarded the grant from Essex County Council had a positive effect on encouraging other funding bodies to support our work, the application process is straight forward, the team are really helpful and I would openly encourage others to apply as the support of Essex County Council really helps organisations like ours make a real difference within our communities in Essex.”

Over the last three years, projects supported by the ‘Culture In Essex – Small Grants Scheme’ have resulted in:

282,000 people getting involved in projects (average 3,662 people per grant)
470 workshops actively engaging residents with arts, culture & heritage
8,242 school children participating in projects
620 volunteers contributing 7,167 hours

The Scheme opens for applications for grants of between £250 and £2,500 (excluding projects in Southend and Thurrock) on 9 January and closes on 13 February 2017. For more information contact the Essex Cultural Development Team on 033301 32470 or visit: www.essex.gov.uk and search for: Cultural Funding.

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