Poltimore Capital Grant Applications to ACE/ACP: New guidelines

In August 1998, a letter from SWA referred to Poltimore as ‘an important project for the region’ but a press release in the following month stated ominously that ACE would now be having a ‘more strategic approach to capital schemes’ – to ‘fill gaps….rather than simply responding to applications’.

On 30 November 1998, a letter from SWA stated that ‘the situation with the Lottery has changed significantly’ but reiterated that SWA ‘remains excited and committed to CCANW in spite of the climate of change for the Lottery… it remains one of our stated priorities’. This change from the first round which had begun in 1995 enabled ACE to take a more strategic approach i.e. to favour an area or art activity that had few awards so far, and to favour areas of social deprivation or exclusion.

In July 2000, later than expected, guidelines of the new Arts Capital Programme (ACP) were announced. They referred to it responding to ‘the new, the bold and the unexpected with flexibility and openness. A spirit of adventure and risk will be at the heart of the programme’.

However, it added – to our astonishment – that the project need not have identified a building nor have a business plan. ACE’s capital criteria i.e. public benefit, financial viability, partnership support, quality of design, quality of artistic activities including education, strategic relevance ‘will not be used to assess admission to the programme – this will come at a later stage, with ACE’s help’.

I am grateful to Val Millington who, during the writing of this Archive, pointed out that in the ACE’s annual review of 2001/2 they refer to the new capital funding programme being ‘more streamlined and transparent than its predecessor and to give applicants a swift indication of whether or not they had been admitted to the programme – thus avoiding disproportional effort leading only to rejection’. Meanwhile, CCANW’s Development Study had been conducted 1999-2000 and cost £200,000.

The aim was also for ACE to be a ‘minority funder’ (under 50%) with the range of grant up to £5,000,000. However, ACE stated that ‘if the project can be separated into different elements which are relevant to different Lottery distributors, you can apply to each of them. The distributors will consult with each other’.

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Poltimore Capital Grant Applications to ACE and HLF: Our applications 1998-2003

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