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02 Feb 2024

You may have seen the news that Suffolk County Council has announced a new £500,000 project fund for Arts and Heritage organisations. The news can be found here.

Our shared statement with Eastern Angles, New Wolsey Theatre, Suffolk Artlink, Food Museum, Longshop Museum, and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is below:

“While we welcome SCC’s announcement that they will establish a new project fund for Arts and Heritage, with a sum equivalent to that cut from their core grant programme, this does not directly address the cut to core funding. Organisations need core funding to cover their running costs and to ensure infrastructure is there to respond to project opportunities. 

We are, however, committed to working with the County Council to help shape this opportunity. We want to ensure that any future arts and heritage investment addresses the Council’s strategic objectives, and delivers best value for the people of Suffolk. We therefore ask Suffolk County Council to use the next six months to meaningfully consult with our organisations and the wider cultural sector, to consider how this new investment can be spent most effectively to sustain the positive outcomes already being delivered for the County and its residents.

The painful process of the 100% cut to Arts and Culture grants, and the ensuing outcry from the public, has highlighted the complex eco-system of arts and museums funding in our region and the very important roles that our organisations have played in supporting the Council’s Health and Wellbeing agenda. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the public who lent their voice to our campaign and demonstrated the importance of culture to the people of Suffolk.”

At this point, we do not have any more information other than the announcement by Suffolk County Council. Our concern is that there has not been much consultation or discussion about this new funding, and we are anxious to understand how it will be used to address the council’s strategic aims. Whilst we appreciate the Council is in a difficult place and having to make tough decisions, we are keen to understand the longer-term thinking behind this decision and whether the Council has fully examined the impact of ceasing core funding to the Arts and Heritage organisations in Suffolk.

As soon as we have more information, we will share it with you.

We are incredibly grateful for your continued support.