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Council to propose new funding for arts & heritage in Suffolk

Suffolk County Council is today announcing its intention to create a new funding pot open to all arts and heritage organisations in the county.
Published: 26 Jan 2024
  • Core funding for nine arts and heritage organisations still to cease after 2024/25
  • New £500,000 funding pot proposed from 2025/26, open to all arts and heritage organisations in Suffolk
  • Proposal to be tabled at Cabinet meeting on 30 January

Following this week’s announcement from government that £600 million of further funding will be available to local councils, the council intends to propose a new £500,000 project fund to which all Suffolk’s arts and heritage organisations can apply.

We have been adamant since starting our budget proposals that we would seek opportunities to support the arts and heritage sector. The recent government announcement has presented us with such an opportunity.
Cllr Bobby Bennett
Cllr Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities

However, this does not alter the difficult financial decisions the council is having to make so that it can prioritise spending on services like SEND, home to school transport and children in care. An extra £74 million is still needed over the next two years to protect the county’s most vulnerable adults and children.

Proposals to end the core funding of £528,000 of nine arts and heritage organisations after the 2024/25 financial year, are still in place. This funding will be replaced with the new £500,000 project funding pot, open to all arts and heritage organisations, from April 2025.

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Environment, said:

“The announcement from government just a couple of days ago is absolutely welcome, and is a credit to our MPs, our own council, and councils across the country for the lobbying which has paid off. We estimate that Suffolk will see around £7.2 million as a result of this extra investment.

“This successful lobbying enables us to make today’s welcome proposal of new project funding for Suffolk’s arts and heritage organisations.

“However, given the wider pressures we face caring for the most vulnerable individuals in Suffolk, we must still take a considerable amount of money from our reserves to balance our budget. That simply cannot continue.

“On top of this, there are still millions of pounds that we need to save in the coming years. Like all county councils with responsibilities for key services that look after those most in need, we are not out of the financial woods, significant challenges and difficult decisions still remain.”

Cllr Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities, said:

“We have been adamant since starting our budget proposals that we would seek opportunities to support the arts and heritage sector. The recent government announcement has presented us with such an opportunity. As I am, people across Suffolk are rightly proud of our cultural organisations and I’m pleased we have been able to make this proposal to continue to fund the sector.

“There are many diverse and exciting arts and heritage groups in the county, delivering amazing work in their local communities who would all have an equal opportunity to bid to help fund their projects. Together, we would enable more early interventions for Suffolk people who might need some support.

“Should this proposal get the green light, we will continue to work with organisations across the sector to help us shape how the fund is set up.”

The new £500,000 fund would contribute to delivering on the council’s ambitions such as looking after the health and wellbeing of Suffolk’s residents, particularly those most in need of extra support to live as safely, independently, and healthily as possible.

The impact of the government announcement for further funding for councils will be discussed at Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Meeting on 30 January 2024, where proposals will be explored.