Arts and heritage groups share more than £55 million in Catalyst: Endowments awards

By Culture24 Reporter | 20 June 2012
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A photo of a magnificent, mansion-style outdoor museum with sweeping green gardens
The Bowes Museum, in County Durham, is one of the first museums to successfully bid for funds aimed at securing the long-term futures of arts and heritage organisations
Thirty-four key arts and heritage groups have been given good funding news today, but the masterplan providing the money aims to bring in much more.

An exercise in potential, the Catalyst: Endowments fund – a joint initiative between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which received hundreds of applications after being announced in July 2011 – is asking the successful venues to attract private donations with the help of the grants.

Each recipient will manage a fund for at least 25 years, with 18 organisations sharing more than £30 million Arts Council money, and a further 16 getting £25.5 million from the Lottery.

A relaxation in inheritance tax rules, reduced tax liabilities for those who give “pre-eminent” objects and artworks to the nation and reforms to the gift aid scheme will also encourage philanthropy.

“Boosting private giving for culture is key to putting arts and heritage organisations on the path to long-term financial stability,” suggested the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt,  calling healthy balance sheets “an essential part” of a thriving sector.

“It is very gratifying to see that so many [organisations] have already been successful in attracting match-funding, and I am grateful to all those companies and individuals who so generously support our arts and heritage bodies.”

The initial beneficiaries include the 45-acre Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol, receiving £500,000, and the Serpentine Gallery, given £3 million.

The most substantial award has gone to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is expected to build a £100 million endowment within 20 years, kick-started by a match-funding pledge of £5 million.

At The Bowes Museum, in County Durham, planners want to support long-term curatorial, conservation and education efforts if they can match a £1 million award.

“Donations received, plus the match funding, will be invested permanently in a newly-created fund to create income for the museum in perpetuity,” explained Richard Welsby, the museum’s Head of Finance, who said the Bowes team were “delighted” and would “do our utmost” to galvanise the scheme.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, the Regional Director of the Arts Council in the north-east, said the Bowes could build on its status as one of the Council’s partner museums, secured in partnership with the Beamish Museum earlier this year.

“The funds it raises through Catalyst will enable it to become a more resilient organisation,” she predicted.

“It will further develop its partnership with Beamish and continue to deliver resources to smaller local museums.”

One of Sussex’s finest galleries, Pallant House in Chichester, has been given until 2016 to earn £1 million by raising the same amount. Organisers originally set up an Endowment Fund in 2002, currently standing at £6.3 million.

“We are most grateful and excited to have been given the opportunity to increase our exisiting fund with a potential £2 million in the next four years,” said Director Stefan van Raay.

“The yield of our current fund is already a major source of our annual income. The grant will seriously contribute to the future financial security of the gallery."

At Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, The National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Mary Rose Trust will receive a combined £6 million in Lottery money, following the recent transfer of HMS Victory from the Ministry of Defence to a charitable trust.

“This award comes in a momentous year for the Mary Rose Trust, as it approaches the 30th anniversary of the raising of the ship from the Solent,” said John Lippiett, the Trust’s Chief Executive, who will oversee the opening of the site’s Mary Rose Museum at the end of 2012.

“The Mary Rose is an amazing time capsule and one of our most precious icons. We are highly appreciative of the continuing support of the Catalyst Endowment programme.

“The investment will help convert years of painstaking archaeological endeavour into an amazing living history experience for future generations.”

Dame Jenny Abramsky, the Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, suggested that the scheme could have a seismic impact.

“Alongside our plans to build the fundraising capacity of smaller groups, we expect the programme to form part of a shift in approach to philanthropic giving,” she said.

“It will help build financial resilience and attract new money to heritage groups of every size.”

£12 million will also be set aside for capacity building, with the Council providing £3 million in a learning programme. Further awards under the scheme are expected to be revealed in early 2013.

Key winners:
  • The Halle Concerts Society: £1 million for educational activity at St Peter's Ancoats and “large-scale artistic projects”
  • Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust, Bristol: £500,000 to help secure the future of the site
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet: £1 million for a dance fellowship to support young dancers
  • The Bowes Museum, County Durham: £1 million to generate income to support collections
  • The Serpentine Gallery, London: £3 million to support the Serpentine Sackler Gallery
  • The Old Vic Theatre, London: £5 million to support “long-term resilience” and arts
  • St Martin-in-the-Fields. London: £1 million to maintain Grade I-listed buildings
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, London: £5 million match-funding  to support scholarly activities

See the DCMS and HLF lists for full details of the awards.
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