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New fund for arts and culture is launched

Arts consultants and project directors Clare Huby (left) and Elaine Burke

Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce has launched a new fund to support the arts and culture in the region, and is urging businesses to pledge their backing for the scheme.

The Chamber Culture Fund will invite bids for cash from individuals and organisations working on art and culture projects throughout the Humber region – the area covered by the Chamber and its membership of around 1,300 businesses.

Money will be generated from the Chamber’s own investments, and the hope is that businesses will make donations to top-up the fund. Chamber President Phil Ascough said there may also be opportunities for businesses to adopt art and culture projects which apply for support.

Phil said: “The Chamber Culture Fund has been launched to commemorate the Chamber’s 180th anniversary and Hull’s status as 2017 UK City of Culture. Our intention is to operate the fund for 20 years until the Chamber hits 200, and it is not just about Hull.

“Our aim in launching the fund is to bring businesses together with the arts and culture community throughout the Humber region and make cash awards to support the development of art and culture projects. We will also help businesses identify projects that they could adopt and develop themselves.

“The response of the business community to Hull’s City of Culture appeals has been a big factor in helping the city win the bid and deliver some amazing events, and even more support has been pledged as the organisers move towards planning the legacy.

“The Chamber Culture Fund provides an opportunity for other businesses to get involved. Some have held back because of budgets, and others because they operate across the wider Humber region rather than just Hull. There may also be some who are unsure of the value of investing in art and culture.”

Guidance notes and application forms for funding are available from the Chamber and must be returned by Monday 2nd October. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday 17th October and will be informed of the outcome by Friday 27th October.

Joining Phil on the panel which will assess the applications will be Julian Wild, a solicitor at Rollits LLP and former board member at Hull Truck Theatre, and arts consultants and project directors Elaine Burke and Clare Huby, whose credits in the local area include Larkin with Toads and the Amy Johnson Festival.

Phil said: “The amounts we are able to give away will depend on the return on the investments and on the level of support from businesses. The maximum for a single award will be £4,000, and there may be people who will benefit hugely from receiving a few hundred pounds.

“We recognise and value the role of art and culture in supporting and developing our communities and we welcome applications from throughout the Hull and Humber region from literature, music, visual arts, the performing arts, digital media and performance, or any combination of these. In addition to money the fund will provide mentoring from our experts on the panel, and we are very grateful to them for their help.”

Elaine Burke said: “Over the past few years we’ve seen the great benefits of business supporting the arts locally, and the Chamber Culture Fund will do much to build on this strong foundation. There is real potential here to help kick-start, nurture and support exceptional creative ideas, people and projects throughout the Humber region.”

Clare Huby added: “This new fund is really welcome, particularly as it is planned to continue for a significant length of time. Artists and businesses have been exploring all sorts of ways of working together, especially in recent years, and this will help to keep the momentum going. Connections between business and the arts can result all kinds of positive outcomes, even the unexpected, and that is part of what makes it so exciting.”

To find out more about the application process and about opportunities to support the Chamber Culture Fund please email President@hull-humber-chamber.co.uk