ARTS groups in Huddersfield were celebrating yesterday after learning that they will keep their funding.
Hundreds of organisations had their cash slashed or cut altogether after the government’s drastic spending review cut Arts Council England’s (ACE) annual grant by around £100m.
Of the 1,300 theatres, galleries and arts groups that applied for grants from 2012 to 2015, only 695 were successful.
But despite widespread cuts across the country, the picture was brighter locally as many groups announced that their financial support will continue.
Huddersfield-based theatre company Full Body and The Voice, which works with learning disabled actors, was told that it will retain its funding of around £100,000 a year.
The news came as a welcome relief to the group, which is more reliant on the funding than ever after losing some income from other sources.
Business director Lynda Hornsby said: “We are very relieved after a nervous wait. It’s great news and means that we can carry on delivering great work.
“It’s still not going to be easy and we have still got to find other funds from other places.
“But knowing we have this funding helps as we have lost some of our earned income, like our training work with South Yorkshire Police which has gone because of the cuts.
“There is no one else like us and we are delighted that the Arts Council is continuing to support Full Body and recognise the quality of our work with people with learning disabilities.”
The Lawrence Batley Theatre, where the company is based, also received good news as it is to receive an increase in funds – up from £111,442 this year to £150,000 for the start of the three-year funding next year.
The theatre’s director Victoria Firth said the additional funds will support the development of Christmas productions as well as new initiatives.
She said:“We are delighted with this huge vote of confidence from the Arts Council and the recognition this brings to LBT.
“Even in difficult times we have remained true to our ambition of providing the best live performance, supporting the development of companies and artists and working extensively with local communities.
“The arts are an extremely valuable part of our society and with this additional funding we will be able to reach out to even more people and develop our long term sustainability.”
The funding for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival was significantly boosted by the grant.
The group said the cash represented a huge vote of confidence in the local, national and international programme of work presented in the town each year.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has over 300,000 visitors each year, will also continue to receive funding and said this recognised the importance of the artistic work that it delivers.
Hoot Music and Dance, Balbir Singh Dance Company, Heads Together, Watershed Arts Practice and West Yorkshire Print Workshop also secured funding.
But other organisations weren’t so fortunate.
Over 300 had their grants cut and ACE’s chair, Dame Liz Forgan admitted that ‘painful decisions’ had been made to cease funding of some good organisations.
Those to lose out included LBT resident company Chol Theatre, which had its application for funding turned down.
Theatre boss Victoria said: “A number of arts and cultural organisations have had news that makes their future uncertain at best.
“It’s hard to see how these decisions will not have a negative impact on the cultural life of the country.
“This means we have to work even harder to advocate for the arts, support others and ensure the arts continue to flourish in our area and beyond.”