Supporting Newcastle based cultural organisations to engage residents

  • Grant Range: Up to £50,000 per year for 3 years
  • Closing Date: midnight, Sunday 3 October 2021
  • Apply Online

About the fund

The Newcastle Culture Investment Fund is a grant programme for independent cultural organisations based and working in the Newcastle City Council area.   

The fund has been in existence since 2015, delivering two rounds of three year core funding as well as project grants and a bespoke crowdfunder platform.  In 2021-22 £600k of stabilising funding was awarded, as well as an additional boost from Public Health England of £165k.   

As we emerge from Covid 19 restrictions and enter a changed world we know that arts and culture has an important role to play.  Organisations across the breadth of the sector have shown incredible resilience and strength.  At the same time, a new vision for how Newcastle can embed and embellish creativity for all its residents has been created. 

The Newcastle Culture Investment Fund core round will distribute £500k per year to organisations supporting these ambitions.  The fund will enable the development of a rich, diverse and accessible independent cultural sector in Newcastle that reflects the creative needs and aspirations of all residents and visitors and gives them the opportunity to participate in a range of creative activities. 

The Fund will therefore support a wide portfolio of art forms and types of work within the constraints of the funding available. Grants from the Fund will help increase participation in creative activity and grow the contribution of cultural activity to social, educational and economic well-being in the city.  

About the grants

We are now seeking applications for a core funding round for up to three years; 2022-25.

PLEASE NOTE - In January 2022 we will open to applications of up to £10k for a project round, for activities to take place between April 2022 and March 2023.  There is £100k available in this pot. This round is not open yet so please do not apply now. Please also be aware that organisations who are successful in their core applications will not be eligible to apply for the project round.  The timetable for communicating the decisions is detailed below.   

Grants are intended to support core revenue costs and/or project activity from April 2022 to March 2025.  Organisations can bid for a maximum of £50,000 per year, for up to three years (so maximum available grant is £150k over 3 years).   

We expect most grants to be in the region of £15k to £30k per year.  Only in exceptional cases will we award over that.  Organisations who are currently in receipt of NCIF stabilising funding are discouraged from applying for more than they were originally awarded in the last round (excluding additional Public Health funding). 

This fund seeks to enable a stable base, from which organisations can maximise their fundraising and earned income potential, to underpin a healthy cultural ecology for the city. 

We recognise the ongoing challenges of Covid 19, particularly in relation to planning.  Whilst we expect you to set out your programme of work within the application, we will continue to be open to dialogue about changing and adapting activities if circumstances change. 

This fund does not replace the Newcastle Fund which will continue to give grants, including to the arts, for work that fulfils the aims of the Council and the Newcastle Fund. 

Please take the time to read the general Community Foundation guidance notes thoroughly.

Eligibility Criteria and what we won’t fund

Please be aware:

  • The fund is only open to applications from cultural organisations based and delivering activity in the Newcastle City Council area.
  • Organisations can only apply once.
  • Organisations are not required to be registered charities, but must be formally constituted, have their own bank account and relevant policies, and operate on a not-for-profit basis. If organisations are not a registered charity then grants awarded must be for a specific, restricted purpose.   
  • As set out in the Community Foundation grant making policy, CICs or other social enterprises with a good business plan can apply for help with start up or expansion costs but will not be eligible for running costs or existing projects.  If your organisation is a CIC you must contact us before applying to discuss eligibility.  If you do not contact us and subsequently make an application it will be rejected at assessment stage.
  • Applicant organisations must be run independently of local and national government (including those within the education sector),
  • Applicant organisations must have been established and operating for at least two years and have at least one set of audited or independently examined accounts.
  • Applicant organisations must fulfil the standard criteria required by the Community Foundation. 

We will not support: 

  • Organisations that are for profit or activities solely for private benefit. 
  • Organisations or projects that are run as part of local or national government. 
  • Organisations based outside the Newcastle City Council area, even if the work they deliver is within Newcastle. 
  • Individuals and freelancers, although we encourage organisations to reference how they engage them within their applications.  
  • Activities outside the Newcastle City Council area. 
  • Activities that do not benefit Newcastle residents or visitors. 
  • Activities that do not meet the aims of the fund. 
  • Activities or core costs that are already financed through other funders or via earned income. 
  • Capital work  

Application Criteria and what we are looking for

In this round we want to understand from your application how you will offer cultural activities to beneficiaries in Newcastle. We would like you to make your case within the context of the newly formed Vision for Culture statement.  This can be found, in its draft format below. We are looking for applications from organisations that are able to showcase, enliven and embody this commitment for the city. 

Please note that alongside the Vision statement, a supporting strategy will be published in Autumn 2021.  Whilst organisations are encouraged to commit to playing a part in its delivery, they should not wait for that before applying.  The vision statement alone, along with the additional criteria detailed below, will form the basis of the assessment criteria for this round.  

As in previous years we also want to see how your organisation contributes to the Health and Wellbeing agenda, a brief overview of which can be found below.

We also ask you to make a case for support with reference to at least one of the council’s other priority areas.  They are: 

  • Health and Social Care: a healthy, caring city. 
  • Employment: creating more and better jobs.  
  • Education and Skills: the best learning opportunities for all. 
  • Environment: a clean, green and safe Newcastle. 
  • Housing: building more and better homes 

Please use the online application form to give an overview of your request.  An additional document should be uploaded that makes a case for support using the above criteria (for clarity: Vision for Culture, Health & Wellbeing and at least one council priority)

This document must be no more than 2 A4 pages long (font size 12). 

Questions we may consider during assessment: 

  • Has the organisation got an effective track record in achieving its stated ambitions? 
  • Does the organisation evidence a robust and ambitious approach to fundraising and/or income generation from other sources 
  • Does the organisation provide credible evidence that it has an appropriate business model and a viable future. In addition, organisations might want to give examples of how they have adapted to covid. 
  • Does the organisation detail their approach to engaging freelancers? 
  • How does the organisation’s work and audience differ from others in their field in the city?  
  • How have inclusion, diversity, access and equality been considered? 
  • Is the management structure appropriate and is it effective in planning, delivery, risk management, monitoring and evaluation? 
  • Does the board (or equivalent) have a strong skill-set and is it properly fulfilling its governance role, including in strategy, performance and finance? 

The budgets and audited accounts provided by applicants will give us some of the information we need to carry out our financial assessment. We require an itemised budget of where the money will be spent. Please break this down into expenditure over the three years.   

How decisions are made, timelines and how to apply

The Foundation has appointed an independent Fund panel, which includes one Newcastle City Councillor, a member of the Newcastle City Culture Compact as well as other independent members who are in the majority. The Chair is one of the independent members.  The Foundation will award grants from the Fund on the basis of the panel’s recommendations.   

Please note that this fund falls outside of the standard 12 week turn around time that Community Foundation strives to achieve.  It is anticipated that panel decisions will be made early in 2022.  If successful, we will be able to give you an update on the recommended outcome of your application, including the amount awarded and a revision of the objectives set.  However, the formal ratification process cannot happen until the new financial year begins in April 2022, at which point you will receive the official offer letter. All awards are subject to receiving the funds from Newcastle City Council. 

This is an online application process available via our website.  

Before applying you must speak to the Community Foundation to discuss your application. Applications received where there has been no preliminary discussion may be rejected regardless of the eligibility and quality of the application.   

To make an application, please click apply online above. 

A Vision for Culture in Newcastle 2020-2030

The Newcastle Culture Investment Fund is a grant programme for independent cultural organisations based and working in the Newcastle City Council area. Funding will support organisations to contribute to the newly formed Vision for Culture for the city, have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of residents and address one of the 5 council priorities. £500,000 per year will be distributed across the breadth of the sector as 3 year core funding.

Newcastle's Wellbeing for Life Strategy

The Newcastle Culture Investment Fund is a grant programme for independent cultural organisations based and working in the Newcastle City Council area. Funding will support organisations to contribute to the newly formed Vision for Culture for the city, have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of residents and address one of the 5 council priorities. £500,000 per year will be distributed across the breadth of the sector as 3 year core funding.

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