Arts groups delighted after securing funding during economic crisis

Arts groups have hailed more than £4.5m of funding to boost Shropshire's cultural scene.

More than 20,000 people have visited the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust since it reopened in July.
More than 20,000 people have visited the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust since it reopened in July.

The Arts Council England awarded a three-year funding package to five county organisations – worth more than £1.5m combined, each year, for the next three years.

The announcement will see The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) given £749,709 each year, Disability Arts in Shropshire receiving £216,208, Pentabus Arts getting £190,779, Shropshire Council given £188,999, and Arts Alive awarded £166,863.

The package saw Shropshire Council's Shrewsbury Museums and Archives receiving funding for the first time, while Arts Alive and Disability Art Shropshire are both having funding increased.

IGMT, the largest beneficiary, and one of the UK's most important historic visitor attractions, said the funding would help it to continue inspiring people through the home of the Industrial Revolution.

Nick Ralls, CEO of the trust said: “As the world continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and in the midst of a challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever to support and protect the arts and culture sectors within the UK.

"Maintaining our status as one of Art Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, the funding announced today will help support our charitable work within education and heritage conservation and allow us to continue our mission to inspire future generations in a diverse and inclusive way.

"Creativity lives at the very heart of the important discoveries and developments made throughout the Ironbridge Gorge and celebrating these discoveries, inventions and the people behind them is another important way for us to engage not only with our visitors but our local communities and to enrich our visitors' lives by immersing them in our shared history."

Nick Ralls, chief executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Arts Alive runs live events and film screenings in rural settings across the county.

Its artistic director Hannah Prior said: "We are absolutely delighted to be funded as part of Arts Council England's National Portfolio again and to continue to be able to bring quality shows and performances to audiences living in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

"We have been able to gain additional funding in this round that will bring exciting new artistic opportunities to make the communities we work with even more culturally vibrant."

Craig Ashley, the chair of Disabilty Arts Shropshire (DASH), said the organisation's extra funding showed a commitment to increasing representation across the arts.

He said: "D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people remain significantly underrepresented as audiences, participants, creatives, and decision-makers across the creative industries.

"Arts Council England’s investment demonstrates their steadfast commitment to bringing about change, by enabling DASH to step up our efforts to tackle the causes and symptoms of this systemic inequality.

"The funding they have committed today will transform our organisation, helping us to grow and make more of a difference in the communities we serve.”

Arts Alive has been promoting cultural events in rural locations

DASH said that the money would support a "responsive programme of work that builds on the significant achievements of DASH to date, supporting disabled people in creative practice at all stages – from aspiring artists to sector leaders."

A statement from the group added: "Increased funding means we will be able to grow our disabled-led team, helping us to lead by example and blaze a trail towards a more radically accessible and inclusive sector."

It added: "In preparation for the work ahead, DASH has recently undergone a rigorous period of organisational development and strategic review. Three new trustees have recently joined our dynamic board of trustees, and we will shortly be recruiting for a new artistic director / CEO to lead the organisation in our exciting next chapter.

"Together, we are prepared to grapple with the significant challenges facing disabled artists over the next three years, intensified by Covid-19 inequality and the cost-of-living crisis. And together, we are ready to respond to the opportunity of a sector and society that is finally taking notice of our potential."

"The board and staff would like to say thank you to Arts Council England for their continued support."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News