Arts grants help give city’s economy multi-million pound boost

An innovative grants scheme has helped cultural organisations in Leeds generate more than £56m for the local economy in just one year, new figures have revealed.

The arts@leeds project, run by Leeds City Council, gives arts organisations across the city financial support to create exciting events and activities in venues and communities.

Now evaluation looking at the impact of the project over a year has found that the 41 organisations which received arts@leeds funding in 2018-19 generated a total of £56,799,450 of income for Leeds.

The huge programme of 2,331 activities delivered by arts@leeds funded groups over the same period also saw more than 126,000 people participate and were watched by a total audience of more than 1.4 million.

Alongside weekly advice sessions and workshops, the scheme gives small and medium-sized cultural organisations the chance to apply for annual grants of up to £4,000 and larger organisations the opportunity to apply for up to £50,000.

Recipients have included the Leeds Big Bookend, South Asian Arts UK, DAZL Dance and The Leeds Library, the oldest surviving library of its kind in Britain.

Some of the larger organisations receiving funding have included Northern Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Dance and Opera North.

Skippko Arts, based in south Leeds were also among the grant recipients. Established in 1988 they have been developing creative projects for more than 30 years.

Skippko’s director Arthur Stafford said: “We are a small arts organisation based in Holbeck, South Leeds and arts@leeds is our sole revenue funder.

“The main benefit to us is the imprimatur arising from the grant and being an element of a diverse funding portfolio enables us forge creative links with bodies such as Leeds Libraries and Leeds Museums and Galleries.

“We generate 97 percent of our income needs and for each £1 we receive from arts@leeds we generate a further £34. In 2018/19, we also welcomed 284,665 people to our workshop, exhibitions and events.”

As well as supporting local companies to develop cultural activities, arts@leeds also helps organisations to access other forms of public funding from organisations including Arts Council England.

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