West England arts groups win grants of £2.4m

Arts organisations in the west of England have been awarded almost £2.4m of funding by Arts Council England.

The grants are among 173 awarded nationally, sharing £30m, as part of the Catalyst Arts scheme .

Arts Council England said the cash will help organisations attract more money to be invested in artistic work.

Among the successful applicants were Acta Community Theatre in Bristol, Cheltenham Festivals, Bath Festivals and The Wiltshire Music Centre Trust.

Owen McNeir, from Bath Festivals, said the award would make "such a difference".

"This will enable Bath Festivals to invest in additional resources to help us raise funds from private philanthropy, i.e. from individuals and from charitable trusts," he said.

"The funds will be used to employ an additional member of staff in the development team and a part time specialist in Trusts and Foundations fundraising."

'Tough climate'

Bristol Old Vic Theatre Royal Trust, Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and Cheltenham Festival have all been given £240,000.

More than £200,000 was awarded to Watershed Arts Trust, Tobacco Factory Arts and Gloucestershire-based Poetry Archive.

Salisbury Festival, Salisbury Arts Theatre, The Wiltshire Music Centre Trust and The Pound Arts Trust were all given £120,000.

St George's Bristol and The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury also received cash.

Alan Davey, from Arts Council England, said: "It's marvellous to see the many innovative ways in which arts organisations have responded to this opportunity to maximise their fundraising potential.

"It is vital that the arts continue to be publicly funded but, with the tough economic climate prevailing, it's also essential to strengthen all the various sources of income that help keep the arts in this country ambitious and excellent."

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