Arts Council England continues to invest in Bedford Creative Arts

4 November 2022

We are delighted to announce we have been invited to return to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio for a further three years.  

We will receive an annual grant of £146,385 towards our work in commissioning creative projects for communities across Bedfordshire in acknowledgement of how our work supports the Arts Council’s current ten-year strategy known as Let’s Create.    

Elaine Midgley, Director of BCA, says:

“This funding ensures we can continue to provide the majority of our programme for free for our beneficiaries. Our projects are delivered by, with, for and inspired by communities in Bedfordshire. We look forward to delivering our new programme of work which will include activity that celebrates residents’ pride in Bedford, inspiring and equipping new generations of culture makers and audiences and working towards a greater level of cultural and demographic diversity within creative activity in Bedfordshire.”  

This funding represents standstill funding for us as we now enter our 8th year in the Arts Council’s portfolio.    

Richard Sobey, Chair of Trustees, says:

“We thank the Arts Council today for their continued investment in Bedford Creative Arts as part of their prestigious National Portfolio. The Arts Council’s new ten year strategy, Let’s Create, strongly aligns with BCA’s values to put people, place, power, possibility and socially-engaged artistic practice at the heart of publicly-funded creative activity. We are honoured to receive this funding for a further three years and to be able to use it to deliver projects that we hope will encourage Bedfordshire’s diverse communities to have a strong sense of entitlement to the arts because of its power to provoke change.”   

Arts Council England Chief Executive, Darren Henley, said:

“Together, each of the 990 organisations that have been offered funding today will contribute to a portfolio that is rich, varied and truly national. This is our widest ever spread of investment across the country, ensuring that many more people will have access to a wider choice of exceptional art, culture and creative opportunities on their doorsteps. We are in tough times but we must remember creativity brings with it extraordinary dividends, boosting our country’s economic growth, creating jobs, bringing communities closer together, and making us happier as individuals. Everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits it brings, and with this investment, we believe we’ve taken a decisive step towards making that vision a reality.”

We are thrilled to see that the Arts Council have also chosen to invest in our peers in Full House Theatre, and The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum in Bedfordshire.  For too long, BCA has been the only NPO in Bedford Borough which did not reflect the great wealth of talent and diversity in the creativity that we know is here.  This additional investment is a great move forward in helping to strengthen the creative eco-systems of Bedfordshire and ensure growth in talent, ambition, opportunity, excellence and diversity for our cultural activity. We can’t wait to continue to work alongside them and see the difference this support will make to them. We offer our commiserations to all those NPOs nationally who may be leaving the portfolio and to any other organisations that applied but did not secure their place.