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Arts Council England opens capital investment funding programme

The Arts Council has opened a new round of its capital investment programme designed to help non-profit organisations adapt buildings and other assets to a changing environment.

A pedestrian underpass with a brick building at the end.

The gallery Modern Art Oxford is based in a former brewery building in Central Oxford and received Arts Council capital funding for upgrading the fabric of the building, including replacing the windows.  (Photo: Christian Michelides via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Date published

The second round of the Arts Council capital investment programme launched on June 6th will provide grants of between £100,000 and £750,000 to charities and not-for-profit organisations in England. The funds will support cultural organisations to adjust buildings, equipment and other assets so that they can operate safely post-pandemic, improve access,  explore technological opportunities and reduce their environmental impact.

The total programme is expected to spend £20 million on a mix of physical and digital infrastructure projects of varying sizes.

Environmental responsibility is an important focus

The Arts Council says that to be fit for the future, many arts organisations, museums and libraries need to achieve significant change. Organisations will need to invest in digital and physical infrastructure to be agile enough to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities. A key focus for its investment planning is environmental responsibility.

The Arts Council says it wants to see cultural organisations take the lead in their communities in their approach to environmental responsibility, including supporting net zero carbon pathways. It expects applicants to consider: environmental factors throughout the project and to demonstrate organisational awareness of the need to work sustainability. It also wants to see successful applicants working to develop an environmental action policy and an annual action plan and reporting on progress as part of the evaluation requirements for this programme

Key dates for applying for funding

The deadline for expressions of interest is 3 July 2023.  (An expression of interest is a short form that says you are interested in applying for funding.)  It is important to be aware that applicants will need to use the Arts Council's 'Grantium' website, and opening an account on that site will take roughly ten working days.

The full application process will open on 25 July 2023.

The closing date for applications is 3 October 2023.

The Arts Council will announce the winners by April 2024, and the projects must begin by 31 March 2025 and finish by 31 March 2027.

Full details about the capital investment programme and how to apply for funding are available from the Arts Council website. 

Past projects

During the first round of the capital funding programme, the Arts Council invested £22.7 million in projects for 66 organisations.

The Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate in Kent received £495,000 towards a £1.782m Council-led scheme to improve visitor experience, resolve operational problems and help support its long-term economic viability.

Modern Art Oxford, which is housed in a converted brewery, received £499,999 for improving the fabric of the building and its thermal performance. The project also involved upgrading lifts, internal services and the technology infrastructure.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England.  Between 2018 and 2022, the Arts Council invested some £1.45 billion of public money from the government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery.