Local arts organisations receive funding from Arts Council England

Date published: 22 June 2020

Two local organisations have received funding from The Arts Council England’s Covid-19 emergency response package, thanks to the National Lottery and Government.

Skylight Circus Arts has received £20,000 whilst £31,427 has been awarded to Cartwheel Arts.

Announced in March, the Arts Council’s Emergency Response Package was designed to help alleviate the immediate pressures faced by artists, creative practitioners, arts organisations, museums, and libraries over the summer – supporting them as they continue to serve their communities during this crisis and affording them the time to stabilise and plan for the future.

In total, over £2.6 million in funding has been awarded to 406 individuals and organisations.


Skylight Circus Arts Silver Circus for over 65s
Skylight Circus Arts Silver Circus for over 65s


A representative of Skylight Circus said: "Skylight Circus Arts are pleased to receive Arts Council Funding to keep our services in Rochdale and safeguard our workers' jobs. We're looking forward to seeing our participants both online and hopefully at our premises soon."

Director of Cartwheel Arts, Rick Walker, said: "The past 15 years have seen drastic cuts to funding for grassroots arts groups, particularly in the North, and our future was looking very uncertain. We are delighted that it secures both the future of Cartwheel Arts, and helps us to support our artists and communities at this challenging and uncertain time. This was only made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England."

Part of the funding awarded to Cartwheel Arts will meet the gap in running costs that the charity faced due to cancelled work and opportunities caused by lockdown. The remainder will provide arts activities for members of the public and work for 10 freelance artists who have all lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic on a project called Collaborate. They will (virtually) work together to create 10 new artworks in response to the climate emergency. Their creations will be displayed in a free online exhibition in early autumn and will go on public display across Rochdale when it is safe to do so. The artists will also each be responsible for creating a ‘have a go at home’ arts activity inspired by their works for members of the public to try. Cartwheel Arts will send postcards of the activities to their participants who aren’t digitally active.


'Get Creative Inside!' family art pack
'Get Creative Inside!' family art pack


This is the latest in a series of responses that Cartwheel Arts has made to the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. As previously reported it produced 6,000 activity packs for families in Rochdale borough in partnership with Link4Life called ‘Get Creative Inside’. Arts organisations in the borough including M6 Theatre and Skylight Circus Arts also contributed content. The packs were full of arts materials and activities to complete.

The Local Government Association has recognised ‘Get Creative Inside!’ as an example of best practice in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cartwheel has also created a 10-week online programme called 'Draw the Day' which is full of fun activities to join in with at home. Designed in response to Covid-19, to promote creative exploration and wellbeing whilst in lockdown or isolation. At every step of the process they had young families and adults in mind, developing different aspects to engage people in different ways. They are uploading pictures sent in by the public to the online gallery.

Catherine Mitchell, Director, North, Arts Council England, said: “Greater Manchester’s arts and culture offer is a key element of the city region’s identity.

“It is home to many individual and organisations who help to shape the cultural landscape across the North West and beyond and I’m pleased that we have been able to support many of them through our Emergency Response Fund.

“In this unprecedented time for the arts and culture sector I hope that our funding will enable them to tackle the immediate challenges that they face during this pandemic.

“We have also been able to support many first-time applicants to the Arts Council from across the North West through this programme, many of whom are from underrepresented groups. And I’d like to thank National Lottery players as this programme has only been made possible through investment from the National Lottery and Government.” 

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