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Suffolk County Council to launch controversial changes to arts funding in September





Controversial changes to arts funding in Suffolk will be launched in September.

During the budget setting period in February, the county council agreed to cut the entirety of the £500,000 arts and heritage sector core funding.

Instead, the council would set up a grant pot of a similar amount for charities and organisations to apply for — this ‘Cultural Projects Fund’ will now launch in September.

Controversial changes to arts funding in Suffolk will be launched in September
Controversial changes to arts funding in Suffolk will be launched in September

This decision proved controversial, however, with campaigners gathering outside the council offices earlier this year to protest against the changes, saying it would lead to insecurity within the sector and an inability to attract more investment.

Adrian Ramsay, the Green MP for the new Waveney Valley constituency, joined protesters in January. He said: “It’s an amount of money that makes a huge difference to the arts organisations but is not going to help the council’s overall budget situation.

“It’s hard when charities have to compete more for smaller pots of money, the rug is being pulled from under the feet of crucial organisations.”

Campaigners gathering outside the Suffolk County Council offices earlier this year to protest against the changes, saying it would lead to insecurity within the sector and an inability to attract more investment
Campaigners gathering outside the Suffolk County Council offices earlier this year to protest against the changes, saying it would lead to insecurity within the sector and an inability to attract more investment

Following its launch in September, decisions about the fund will be made by the end of January next year and projects delivered from April.

Cllr Philip Faircloth-Mutton, the cabinet member who is overseeing the delivery of the fund, said several workshops with museums and arts organisations were held in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and online during the development.

He added: “There are many diverse and exciting arts and heritage groups in the county, delivering amazing work in their local communities and this fund will allow all organisations to have equal opportunity to bid to help fund their projects.

Cllr Philip Faircloth-Mutton, the cabinet member who is overseeing the delivery of the fund, said several workshops with museums and arts organisations were held in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and online during the development. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Cllr Philip Faircloth-Mutton, the cabinet member who is overseeing the delivery of the fund, said several workshops with museums and arts organisations were held in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and online during the development. Picture: Suffolk County Council

“I am confident this new fund which will launch in September will deliver meaningful outcomes for our communities and contribute to the councils’ ambitions such as looking after the health and wellbeing of Suffolk’s residents.”

Cllr Faircloth-Mutton also said the application process would be streamlined and thoughtful, minimising bureaucracy.

The announcement is part of his cabinet member report, due to be presented during the council’s next cabinet meeting on Thursday.