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Our Statement on Arts Council England’s NPO Funding Decision

Arts Connect applied to be part of the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio of regularly funded organisations from April 2023 to 2026. We are deeply disappointed that we have been unsuccessful in this application.

We have taken time to sit with this news and to process the profound implications this has for us as an organisation, our work and for our small and dedicated team.

Arts Connect is incredibly proud of the work we have achieved over the past 10 years as the Bridge organisation for the West Midlands.

In particular this has included since 2015:

  • 41,698 young people gaining an Arts Award.
  • 534 schools supported to embed the arts in their curriculum through Artsmark.
  • 1,175 Young Arts Ambassadors trained.
  • £2m secured as levered investment for innovative partnership programmes.
  • The growth in skills, leadership ambition and confidence of 162 creative and cultural leaders from 95 organisations who have taken part in our Leadership Programmes.
  • Supporting staff in over 900 schools in connecting with our opportunities.
  • Working with 650 artists, creative, cultural and heritage organisations and local government
  • Establishing 14 Local Cultural Education Partnerships as new spaces for local collaboration

Firstly, we want to thank all those in our team – core staff, freelance collaborators and partner organisations – whose knowledge, creativity, dedication, ambition and deep commitment to our vision has been at the very heart of making these achievements possible.

We would like to thank Arts Council England for their investment over the past 10 years and for the core support and partnership of our colleagues at the University of Wolverhampton

We would also like to thank our fellow travellers on this journey, the teachers, schools, creative, cultural and heritage organisations, artists and consultants across the West Midlands. You believed in the vision that all children and young people in the region should have access to high quality arts and cultural activities and worked tirelessly with us to make this happen.

We will now take some time to review the future of Arts Connect while we continue with our work in leading change for young people through the Bridge programme until March 2023.

If you would like to talk to us please get in touch and email Rob Elkington, our Director.