Following two consultations, that covered the length and breadth of Wales, on how best to distribute funds raised from National Lottery sources, we have now published our new National Lottery distribution guidelines. We have also opened an application window for large grant applications, with the first closing date being on 6th November.

Commenting today, Kath Davies, Director (Arts Funding Services), who led the consultation and who leads the Arts Council of Wales’ grants programme, said:

“Since autumn last year we’ve been consulting on how best to distribute funds raised from National Lottery sources and have listened very carefully to what organisations and individuals across the nation have told us. This process has led to changes in our National Lottery distribution strategy and these are reflected in our new Guidelines being published today. Applications for Large Grants can also be presented from today onwards.

“Small Grants for organisations and individuals will continue as a rolling programme, with applications able to be made from 14th October.  

“If you have a project that you think might be eligible for a National Lottery grant, you can start discussing it with one of our Development Officers now. We’ll also be holding a series of information workshops about the new National Lottery programmes across Wales in October and November.”

The new National Lottery Distribution strategy in full is available here

The application process in detail

Programmes of work

Following our consultation, we have reviewed and revised our funding programmes.  We’ve tried our best to reflect what you’ve told us, and we hope that you’ll be able to see where changes have been made.

In particular, you told us that our application process was often confusing and complicated.  We’ve tried to resolve this by reducing the number of different application forms.  We’ve also discontinued our application ‘strands’.

Instead, we’ve developed 8 programmes of work which reflect our Corporate Plan.  These are:

  • Creative Pathways
  • Strategic Equalities
  • Commissioning, Making, Presenting
  • International
  • Children and Young People
  • Business Development
  • Widening Engagement
  • Arts and Health

Meeting the Arts Council’s priorities

We have set out clear priorities for funding support.  (You can find more about these in our corporate plan, “For the Benefit of All”). So, if you’re making an application, you’ll need to tell us how your project will match one or more of these priorities, and how it relates to one of the above programmes of work.

We hope that when you make an application, you’ll find our process simpler and more flexible. We also believe that taking a more flexible approach enables us to recognise the broadest range of good ideas, reducing the possibility that an excellent application fails because it doesn’t ‘fit’ neatly a particular funding strand.

Financial thresholds

We’ve listened to what you told us about the amount you can apply for.  Our Small Grant maximum level has now been increased to £10,000, and our Large Grant maximum limit has gone up to £50,000.

Fair rates of pay

We’ve also taken on board what you’ve told us about the need to ensure that all artists and arts professionals are properly paid.  You’ll see that we now stipulate minimum payments rates for all.

Areas where we need to do some further work

There are some areas where we think more development work is needed. In particular, we need further consultation and discussions with the sector around a longer-term investment model for Commissioning, Making and Presenting.  A number of useful ideas were put forward during the consultation, but there was no clear consensus around any single idea. Therefore, we want to work with you over the next six months to refine the approach by April 2020.  Similarly, whilst we are committing additional funding to support work in the Welsh language, we continue to work with you on how we can best develop and support high quality work in Welsh.

For now, we will continue our current “open to application” approach for Festivals, National Touring and Programme Support. New schemes will be launched in April 2020.

Business development organisations who are not in our Arts portfolio Wales and other programmes

Similarly, our work on a Resilience Programme for non-APWs is still being developed and will also be ready on, or before April 2020.

There are opportunities for individual artists and arts professionals to apply for business development funding from October. We will, however, be exploring in more detail how we can support individuals in a more structured way at all stages of their careers.

Our International Opportunities Fund and Capital Programme have also now reopened with minimal changes, in line with the consultation responses.

Broadening the expertise in our decision meetings

We’re also changing the way we make decisions on applications. 

In future we’ll be involving our Arts Associates in our panels. The Associates are independent arts professionals drawn from all parts of Wales and bring a wide range of specialist sector and regional knowledge to the table.