Funding, Organisations

Arts Council announces £749,226 Health and Safety funding to support arts organisations

19th January, 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, on behalf of Department for Communities (DfC) has today (Wednesday 19 January 2022), announced funding of £749,226 to support 34 arts organisations through the Health and Safety Capital Programme.

Jenna Hall, Chief Executive of Circusful and Festival of Fools, circus artist, Grant Goldie and Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Council of Northern Ireland stood in front of a wall with graffiti art.
Pictured: Jenna Hall, Chief Executive of Circusful and Festival of Fools, circus artist, Grant Goldie and Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Health and Safety Capital Programme will support organisations to reopen their creative spaces safely by funding the purchasing of equipment and/or minor works required to address any health and safety issues created as a result of the pandemic or that have been an outstanding maintenance issue.

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

“The vital funding announced today will enable venues and cultural spaces to reopen safely. Theatres as well as cultural and live performance venues, all play a vital economic and social role in Northern Ireland; it is here where many artists and creative practitioners develop their skills and their craft and most importantly, it’s where they collaborate, creating art that inspires us, improves our wellbeing and supports our local economy. The Health and Safety Capital Programme funding from the Department for Communities will ensure that organisations have proper measures in place to welcome the return of their staff, artists and audiences.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:

“I am delighted that my Department has been able to make this capital funding available to a sector which has been significantly affected throughout the pandemic. I am confident that the awards made by Arts Council will make a vital contribution in supporting our arts organisations to continue to keep doors open and audiences safe.”

Among those arts organisations offered funding are:

Festival of Fools (Belfast)
Funding award offered:

The Festival of Fools will use their funding to prepare to welcome back audiences safely for their flagship event, Festival of Fools 2022, due to take place in April and May. The organisation will invest in moveable seating to create a safer, static space for audiences watching their outdoor shows. They will also invest in equipment including wooden posts and ropes to act as barriers and define the performance space to protect the artists that will be performing. In addition to hand sanitiser, the organisation will purchase gazebos to use as sanitising stations and also invest in Ipads/tablets to conduct audience evaluation surveying post performance.

Greater Shantallow Community Arts (Derry-Londonderry)
Funding award offered:

Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA) will use their funding towards a COVID RESPONSE PROGRAMME, a specifically designed programme of work to respond positively to the impacts the Covid Pandemic has had on their community arts service delivery and service users whilst attending arts workshops and events at their Studio 2 Community Arts Centre.

The funding will enable GSCA expand their safe space facilities at Studio2 Community Arts centre by extending their outdoor workshop and garden space significantly. This will enable the organisation to deliver more workshops, events and programmes to a larger audience safely. Funding will be used to extend the garden area, paint exterior walls, provide climate resilient floor covering and furnish the new space as well as purchase outdoor heating appliances, lighting and an outdoor screen for delivering workshops and events.

Big Telly Theatre Company (Causeway Coast and Glens)
Funding award offered:

Big Telly Theatre Company will use their funding to invest in equipment that will build on their current work in innovating and creating theatre work that can move, reach new audiences, offer new experiences and is economically viable, efficient and sustainable longer term.

Their Remote Control project will benefit considerably from this equipment as it is a transformative white label platform which revolutionises digital audience engagement, maximising the potential of a unique relationship between physical and remote (digital) live audiences. Remote Control (technical experts fees funded by Innovation UK) runs perfectly in areas with fast broadband/5G and Big Telly now need this additional equipment in order to make their work more accessible in rural areas - both for digital audiences and for hybrid work to take place within site-specific locations outside of Belfast.

Sticky Fingers Arts (Newry)
Funding award offered:

Sticky Fingers Arts will use their funding to purchase equipment that will enable them to deliver more flexible activities that can be easily transported as well as ensure that they can continue to deliver their flagship project, The International Children’s Festival. The organisation will invest in new seating, storage and dedicated equipment that is suitable for pre -school children and children with complex needs, allowing Sticky Fingers to deliver workshops and events safely.

All Set Cross Cultural (Portadown)
Funding award offered:

All Set Cross Cultural will use their funding award to develop and create a safe environment to encourage students back to their workshops and classes and increase audiences attending performances. The new equipment will address covid-19 requirements and updated regulations will be adhered to. In the challenge to attract audiences, they will use the new equipment to improve accessibility of the traditional arts in Portadown. The new equipment will enable the organisation to run several fundraising events as they work towards having increased numbers of participants and audiences.

Seacourt Print Workshop (Bangor)
Funding award offered:

Seacourt Print Workshops will use their funding award to improve the layout of their workspaces to ensure they are streamlined, well organised and safer to use by improving their storage facilities. They will also invest in improving their heating source to enable safe, efficient heating of the main space and the avoidance of using less safe portable heating devices. The organisation will also upgrade to newer, more energy efficient, sustainable equipment and items that eliminate the use of fuels or the creation of fumes.

To view a full list of arts organisations offered funding through the Health and Safety Capital Programme visit

For details on all current funding opportunities visit