Arts Derbyshire


The Ups and Downs of Running a Charity

This autumn has been a mixed bag of news as far as funding is concerned.

We are delighted to remain a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) receiving investment from Arts Council England until 2026. NPO is a key source of funding that allows us to deliver projects at LEVEL Centre, in the community and commission and collaborate with artists and partners from across the UK. We have lots of exciting plans to share with you over the next three years!

Although we were relieved by this news, our joy was tinged with disappointment as we heard the devastating news that we were to lose our core Derbyshire County Council grant just a few days later. The decision followed a DCC consultation earlier this year and affected Level and nine other arts organisations in Derbyshire. The Derbyshire County Council grant was a recurring annual grant that allowed us to deliver core projects like our Level Makes Art and Performances classes for learning disabled adults. Many of our Level Makes participants see us a key part of their weekly routine and come to Level to learn creative skills and meet up with friends.

We feel that Level Makes is the beating heart of Level, filling the building with joy and laughter. We have to find a way to make sure it continues.

We can apply for specific funding through DCC’s new commissioning programme, but so far we haven’t been successful. Like many fundraising grants, these commissions appear to be designed to develop new projects, not support existing projects that are already up and running but that aren’t financially viable, especially in a rural location, without external support.

Overall, the fundraising landscape is particularly difficult at the moment. Funding applications take a long time to complete which is an added strain on such a small team like us here at Level.

We’re continually looking for new ways to financially support our core programme. Earlier this year we applied to take part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge and secured sufficient pledges of support to be able to take part in the public campaign. Our target is £2500, but we have just 7 days to reach that target when the campaign opens on 29 November! If we raise £2500 in online donations we’ll unlock match funding, meaning that each donation has twice the impact. Anything over that target will go towards supporting our core projects and filling the fundraising gap created by the loss of the DCC grant.

We know that times are difficult, but if you know anyone who might be able to help please share this link with them:

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