Start East and Business Plans for Creative Enterprise

Start East Launch


Making funding applications



The following text consists of my write up of notes and lift of material from their website, from a presentation made by the Arts Council England to Start East participants. I think what struck me is that, in the final analysis, funding in this area is one of the least competitive, and consistent application and attention to detail should reap rewards. Grantium is clearly a difficult and inflexible process, so the reading of the small print and full use of guides is essential. As is actually making the requests in a timely manner as well as the required financial accounting and feedback. Although Start East is focussed in the performing arts and supporting creative endeavours this clearly applies across the board to the visual arts as well.


Grants for the Arts

31st July 2017

Lisa Elmer, Relationship Manager Children, Young People & Learning

Rebekah Jones, Relationship Manager Theatre

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.

Between 2015 and 2018, we will invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create arts and culture experiences for everyone, everywhere.

Our mission and goals #culturematters

Our mission is Great Art and Culture for Everyone

Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries

  1. Everyone has the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries
  2. The arts, museums and libraries are resilient and environmentally sustainable
  3. The leadership and workforce in the arts, museums and libraries are diverse and appropriately skilled
  4. Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries 


 Our funding

  • National Portfolio funding
  • Strategic funds
  • Grants for the Arts


National Portfolio Funding 2015-18

  • 663 arts organisations
  • £1 billion
  • 21 Major Partner Museum Funding


  • 831 Organisations
  • 183 new organisations
  • 3 bands plus Sector Support Organisations
  • £1.6 billion investment
  • £71.4m of lottery investment each year

Strategic funds

  • Strategic Touring
  • Ambition for Excellence
  • Catalyst
  • Small and Large Scale Capital
  • Artists International Development Fund
  • Celebrating age

What is Grants for the Arts?

A key feature of how Arts Council England delivers our mission, ‘Great art and culture for everyone’

The basics

Grants for the Arts distributes awards of between

£1000 and usually £100,000 from the National Lottery to:

    • individuals
    • arts organisations
    • people who use the arts in their work

For time limited arts-related activities that:

    • benefit people in England
    • help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work

Whatkind of activity do we fund?

productions / exhibitions / participatory projects / events / festivals / carnivals / workshops / digital projects / artistic research and development / commissions/ participation / asset purchase / building renovation / making work / touring / residencies / professional development / international partnerships

/ organisation and business development / audience development

Who can apply?

arts organisations / artists / researchers / local authorities / commissioners / festivals writers / musicians / museums / libraries / performers / directors/ promoters presenters / curators / designer makers / producers / universities / voluntary groups consortiums of schools / choreographers / community groups / composers / experimental artists /

Whatkind of activity do wenot fund?

  •  activities that are not arts-related
  • activities that provide no potential benefit to the public, either in the short or long term
  • activities, including buying goods or services, which take place or start before we would be able to decide on your application

What don’t we fund?

  • general running costs and overheads that are paid for by other income, including your own funds
  • activities or even second-hand equipment (apart from certain musical instruments and specialist equipment)
  • Activities or events mainly taking place outside England (some exceptions)
  • film or video production, training or assets unless artwork


Before you apply

Check the project you want to apply for is eligible for Grants for the Arts


Are you ready to apply? Is the timing right, is your activity well planned, do you have finance and partners in place?

Our Grant management system

  • Applications to Grants for the Arts are made through Grantium


  • Lots of help on our website, including videos


  • Once you've created an account, you will manage everything online:

•managing your profile

•making a funding application

•receiving your decision

•uploading monitoring information

•claiming payments

The application form

  • The application form asks focused, directive questions relating to our four criteria (quality, public engagement, management and finance)
  • The number of questions, and depth of information requested will increase in line with the value of the application
  • Our How to apply guidance goes through what kind of information we expect to see, step by step

Artistic quality

  • Summary of your recent relevant artistic work, experience and achievements
  • Your proposed artistic activity, and what do you want to achieve by doing it
  • Explanation of why the activity is important for your artistic development
  • What artists are involved in your activity (e.g. artists, producers, directors)

Public engagement

  • Who will benefit from your activity
  • Results of your activity
  • Your target audience or audiences
  • How you will reach your target audience or participants

Finance • A balanced budget (income equals expenditure)

    • 10% income from other sources (can include in-kind support)
    • Your approach to raising as much money as you can from other sources
    • Your experience in managing budgets
    • How you will manage this project budget
    • Explanation of how any fees, rates and purchases have been calculated

Management • Brief summary of your and your partners' recent experience

in managing similar types of activity

    • List of project partners
    • Activity plan to identify the main stages of the activity and to show who will lead on each element of the activity
    • Tour schedule (if applicable)
    • Risk assessment
    • Plans to monitor progress and evaluate the activity

What informs our appraisal

  • Information in the application form
  • The context
  • Our professional judgement
  • Benchmark against other applications

The Appraisals Process:

Eligibility check Risk Check

Appraisal against criteria

Over £15k only

Decision meeting

Decision letter

Decisions • Six weeks for applications for £15k or under

  • 12 weeks for applications over £15k
  • If you are unsuccessful your letter will explain the main weaknesses of the application
  • Any reapplication must address the reason(s) it was unsuccessful

The competition

  • In 2016/17, we received just over 800 applications
  • We made just over 4000 awards
  • 17 awards to artists or organisations based in Ipswich
  • 37 awards to artists or organisations based in Norwich
  • We will always receive more good applications than we can fund so advise you to consider other sources of funding while applying to us


  • Most decision meetings are competitive - We will always receive more good applications than we can fund so advise you to consider other sources of funding while applying to us
  • If we are not able to fund your activity this time, we will highlight the main reason(s) the application was unsuccessful and explain our reasoning
  • The information in the decision letter is the full level of feedback we can provide
  • We recommend that unsuccessful applicants revisit the How to apply guidance as well as any appropriate information sheets, particularly the ‘understanding the appraisal process’ guidance
  • You can apply again at any time, but any new application for the same activity must address the reasons why the original application was not successful