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£10.86 million emergency funding offered to 168 arts and cultural organisations across Nl

Thursday 11th February 2021 at 4pm 0 Comments

SSE Arena, Belfast Image: SSE Arena, Belfast

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 11th February 2021) announced funding offers of £10,864,610, from their Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations (SRPO), to support 168 cultural organisations affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Stability and Renewal Programme is part of the £29 million NI Executive allocation that was made to the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by Covid-19.
The 168 organisations were offered grants to help them respond to the continuing negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis; the programme was specifically designed to stabilise organisations financially to prevent closure and/or to allow continued delivery of outcomes, and support renewal plans. 

Thirty-nine of the 168 organisations offered funding are first-time applicants to the Arts Council, representing the commercial entertainments sector and creative industries.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“Today’s announcement of £10.86 million of funding will be of benefit to 168 cultural organisations and the Arts Council thanks the Minister for Communities for making this emergency fund available.  It is very much needed to help stabilise the wider arts, cultural and entertainment sectors in these difficult times and to plan for eventual recovery.”

Deirdre Hargey, Communities Minister said:

“I know that the arts and creative sectors have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and that this financial support is vital to stabilise organisations and prevent many from closing permanently.

“This funding will eliminate deficits which organisations have accumulated from 1 April 2020 because of reductions in income, coupled with unavoidable ongoing costs.

“The arts and creative industries have an important role to play in helping us all emerge from this pandemic, and this support is designed to stabilise organisations until they can reopen and resume delivering their important benefits to our community.”

This Fund marks the third round of funding to provide much-needed financial support to cultural organisations which have been decimated under the Covid-19 lock down. The closure of theatres and venues, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences has been devastating to those who work within these sectors, those who helped drive the regeneration of our local economy.

Some of those organisations offered SRPO funding include:

  • Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA), Derry~Londonderry - SRPO funding offer £84,000
  • Derry Theatre Trust (The Millennium Forum), Derry~Londonderry - SRPO funding offer £103,034
  • OML Belfast Limited / SSE Arena, Belfast - first award from the Arts Council - SRPO funding offer: £809,763
  • Rockstar Logistics, Maghera - first award from the Arts Council - SRPO funding offer: £409,628
  • Up Productions (AVA), Belfast -  SRPO funding offer £207,458
  • Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Fermanagh - SRPO funding offer £15,352
  • Newcastle Community Cinema, Down  - SRPO funding offer £55,366


Please see below, details of some of the organisations offered funding:

Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA)
SRPO grant offer: £84,000
Greater Shantallow Community Trust is GSCA a community organisation based in Derry~Londonderry and their aim is to provide direct access to the arts for those living in disadvantaged communities. The key objective of GSCA is to bring arts and cultural activity to areas of significant marginalisation and deprivation and address complex social issues like social exclusion, isolation, lack of opportunity and poverty. They are a trusted partner delivering key services to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in their community. GSCA is core funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland which enables the organisation to offer a year-round programme of creative activities benefitting over 1400 people every week, delivered from their purpose-built, high-quality community arts centre, 'Studio 2'.

Derry Theatre Trust (The Millennium Forum)
SRPO funding offer: £103,034

Located in Derry~Londonderry, the Millennium Forum is one of Northern Ireland’s largest purpose-built theatres, conference centres and event spaces.  They present a number of productions throughout the year including their popular annual pantomime which attracts audiences of over 35K every Christmas and New Year. 

The Millennium Forum also produces and tours work throughout the UK, Ireland & worldwide and in the past has toured Brian Friel’s Translations, Frank McGuinness', Factory Girls, and Colin Bateman’s, Teenage Kicks- A Punk Musical. 

The Millennium Forum has developed a range of educational and mentoring partnerships with Ulster University, schools, colleges and the North West Regional College, to create opportunities for children and young people to access the arts and find potential routes to employment within the creative industries.

Their Access and Inclusion team has developed community outreach initiatives designed to help combat social isolation and improve the wellbeing of older people with dementia and also for adults with learning difficulties.  More recently they set up a pilot Arts and Business project with Foyleside Shopping Centre which offered work placements, training and mentorship opportunities for young adults with learning difficulties. 

OML Belfast Limited / SSE Arena - first award from the Arts Council
SRPO funding offer: £809,763
The SSE Arena Belfast is one part of the Northern Ireland Premier Entertainment facility located on the Odyssey site in Belfast.  The venue is multi-purpose and committed to providing cultural events and inclusive, accessible services for people from across Northern Ireland. 

Since opening in December 2000, the Arena has hosted approximately 2,000 performances and had an attendance figure hitting an incredible 9,000,000.  Due to its design the Arena is able to host shows with audience capacities ranging from 2,500 in an intimate setting up to a large-scale part-standing format of 10,000.
The Arena has attracted and hosted major high profile events such as the MTV European Music Awards, and a wide range of events straddling music, comedy and sport, the venue is a premiere music and concert venue.

Up Productions (AVA)
SRPO funding offer: £207,458

Established in 2015 in Belfast, AVA is an Audio Visual Arts Festival & Conference.  The Festival & Conference has grown from a 1-day conference & event, into a multi-day, multi-stage, multi-city, globally recognised event with their headquarters based in Belfast and an international platform based in London.

Over the last 6 years, AVA has developed Northern Ireland's only urban festival which offers a platform to develop local electronic artists.  Through their international platform in London, they have developed an electronic conference which features leading electronic music artists, producers and industry partners including, Abbey Road Studios, Soundcloud, Pioneer & Ableton.  AVA was named in the Top Ten Best City Music Festivals by The Guardian. 

The Festival is broadcast to a global audience, in partnership with Boiler Room in Belfast, and has reached 15 million viewers since they began.  They have worked with 670 artists, many of them based in Northern Ireland and have worked directly with 53 electronic artists in their artist development programme, in partnership with PRS Foundation, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Help Musicians NI.

Rockstar Logistics - first award from the Arts Council
SRPO funding offered: £409,628
Rockstar Logistics is a unique music company based in Maghera, providing logistical support to artists in many genres of music, theatre and comedy, with full coverage of luxury tour buses and tour trucking. Notable clients include Bon Iver, Tenacious D, ASAP Rocky and Lucinda Williams.  The company also offers major artists a storage service for their touring equipment at their custom-built store and production facility when artists are based in Northern Ireland preparing for touring. 

Rockstar Logistics routinely perform pre-production for tours locally in Northern Ireland, bringing in high profile artists that would otherwise omit Northern Ireland from their touring schedule.  Consequently, this connection also allows local artists to have access to a level of artist that they would normally not be in a position to work with.
The company also provides professional management and career guidance to And So I Watch You From Afar, among others NI acts and has previously managed the careers of several artists, providing personal consultancy services and road management services. 

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Enniskillen, Fermanagh
SRPO funding offer: £15,352
Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre supports the development of dance and is the only professional and participatory dance organisation in Northern Ireland that is based in a rural location in Fermanagh.  The company has three primary areas of work including; professional dance performance locally and internationally, a programme of participatory and community development and a schools education programme that runs in conjunction with curriculum needs.  In response to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company moved its participatory dance programme online and created two online festivals, Inside Out which took place in May and November 2020.  They also created an online movement programme for older people with limited movement.  The company is run by award-winning Artistic Director, Dylan Quinn.

Newcastle Community Cinema (NCC), Down
SRPO funding offer: £55,366
Since its inception 11 Years ago NCC has grown from its humble beginnings, screening films once a month in rented community halls, to taking on an unused church hall and converting it into a unique cinematic and arts space.  NCC has developed a unique brand of immersive cinema experiences blending screenings that entertain, challenge and raise awareness of important social issues.  It creates memorable cultural events including their annual Full Moon Film Festival, a long weekend of film, events and workshops.

NCC also curates a schools programme with Into Film and participates in their annual film festival. They run a number of programmes alongside students studying moving image arts courses in local schools, encouraging students to engage and programme their own films screenings to showcase their own work.

Over the years NCC has collaborated with Belfast Film Festival, Cinemagic, Soma Music Festival, Belfast Culture Night, Sunflower Festival, QFT, Strand Arts, Access Cinema, Cinema for All and Into Film.  They also represent community cinemas and film societies on the NI Film Hub steering group.  In 2012 and 2013, NCC won the British Federation of Film Societies ‘Film Society of the Year’ award. 



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