Arts groups get six-figure funding boost

News Letter.

The announcement of a £620,000 funding package to boost 32 arts organisations has been welcomed by the Arts Council – with a further £320,000 going to Sport NI.

Many local arts bodies and projects have been severely affected by budget cuts over the last financial year.

The new funding has been provided by the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) after the money was reallocated by the finance department during the NI Executive’s November monitoring round.

A spokeswoman for the Arts Council said the money would be used to “reinstate grants” to organisations who had grants withdrawn.

She said: “We appreciated greatly the opportunity to meet with the minister in October when we conveyed the Arts Council’s and the sector’s deep concerns at the impact of the in-year reductions. There will be a sense of relief shared by those affected by today’s announcement.

The Arts Council will, as ever, continue to support the minster in her efforts to bring public funding for the arts to the level at which they should be, to achieve the full potential of the arts in the lives of all the people.”

DCAL minister Caral Ni Chuilin said:

“As a result of funding reallocations as part of the November monitoring round, the Department is now in a position to reinstate £620,000 to the Arts Council which will be passed on to the 32 arts organisations and £320,000 to Sport NI.

I am delighted to be announcing the reinstatement of this money for our arts and sporting communities. The cuts to our block grant by the Tory government in Westminster are causing huge difficulties for the Executive and are having a detrimental effect on front-line services.”

Ms Ni Chuilin said she made a “strong case” for the money and believes the finance minister Arlene Foster took this into account.

“I thank her for listening to the arguments which I made,” Ms Ni Chuilin added.