“Big Four” among winners as Leeds Council publishes three-year arts and culture grants

Leeds City Council has published the list of the arts and cultural organisations it’s proposing to fund over the coming three years –and the amount it proposes to give to each.

The council decided in July last year to change its system of grant funding and provide cash to organisations for three years, mirroring the system introduced by the Arts Council. The aim is to provide organisations with “greater stability”.

From the published list it appears that over this first three year period the council is going to be providing grants worth over £7.5 million. Of that total, over £5.5m (73.7%) is going to the top four applicants (in terms of cash allocated): Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet and Leeds Grand.

(See comments below on likelihood that funds for the Grand include grants to Leeds City Varieties and Hyde Park Picture House)


Applications were judged against criteria which included the following: reach; target audiences; performance against the council’s “four cultural objectives”; financial stability; realism of costing; alternative funding sources and opportunities; equality; diversity and safeguarding policies; programme and commitment to the city.

The council’s four cultural objectives are:  “spot, nurture and retain talent; remove barriers to enable all to participate in cultural activity; contribute to the distinctiveness of the cultural offer in the city; inspire the communities of Leeds and be inspired by them”

The results of a survey carried out with the council’s Citizens’ Panel were also used to assess the applications and allocate the grants. Panel members were asked what they would like to see happening in Leeds in 2012.

“Significantly oversubscribed”

A report on the funding published on the council’s website said the grant scheme was “significantly oversubscribed”, with the new approach attracting a much broader range of organisations and individuals proposing an “exciting mix of ideas”.

“Leeds Metropolitan University are working with the Council to develop simple yet effective measures for the social and economic value of the programme,” the report says.

The report did not say how many organisations applied for funding but failed to be allocated a grant.

On the council’s website it says that the Chief Officer Libraries, Arts and Heritage has approved the grants, but that its current status is “for consultation”. A final decision is expected on 30th March, it says.

All will be revealed.

Here’s the list.


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6 Responses to “Big Four” among winners as Leeds Council publishes three-year arts and culture grants

  1. Arts Lover says:

    Well, that is fascinating. I work for one of the funded organisations on this list, so I shall remain anonymous. If you were to start adding up the grants from the bottom up, you would nearly get to the top before you exceeded Opera North’s grant. Does that really represent the cultural life of our city? How many people in this city (or even the region) go to see an ON production? I hate to be so negative, but after all the talk around the council about NOT giving the money to the usual suspects this really does stick in the craw.

    • Hi Arts Lover,

      I’m a trainee journalist based in the Leeds area and I’m looking to do a story on arts funding. Would you be willing to speak with me about the issue?

  2. I can’t find the figures for the last round, but my guess is that the percentage of funding going to the “usual suspects” is probably pretty much in the line with what the Arts Council gives to its “regularly funded organisations” in Leeds. Anyone got the exact figures?

  3. A. n'nimuss says:

    I believe the grant for “Leeds Grand Theatre” is to the Charitable Trust of the same name, not the venue alone, so it also covers funding to support City Varieties Music Hall and Hyde Park Picture House.

    (an “insider”)

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