Building Society offers funding for arts groups

Skipton%20ComerataARTSBEAT NEWS: Professional musicians and conductors alike are encouraging local community groups and arts organisations to apply for funding and support from  Skipton Building Society’s community programme, Grassroots Giving.

 Skipton Building Society has replaced its previous Community Contribution Award with this new appeal, as it celebrates its 160th anniversary.

This year’s Big 160 Appeal is offering 160 individual community organisations across the UK donations of £500.

Additional to the donations of £500, http://www.skiptonbig160.co.uk will also showcase all shortlisted applicants, and use Facebook and Twitter  twitter.com/SkiptonBS_GrG accounts to help spread the word of community arts projects through social media.

There will also be branch activity nationwide, to help promote the groups and the valuable work they do in local communities.

The Skipton Building Society Camerata exemplifies this commitment to supporting local arts organisations. The Camerata, a professional orchestra, was established in 2004, with the aim of bringing high-quality, accessible classical music to new audiences in Yorkshire and beyond.

Since the first concert under the leadership of its founder, Ben Crick, the Skipton Building Society Camerata has performed in pubs, cattle markets and shopping centres, as well as in more conventional venues.

International conductor, Ben Crick took a break from rehearsals to explain: “Right now, arts organisations are facing big challenges as a result of austerity measures from central and local governments.

“Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has told arts executives that they must ‘hammer home the value of culture to our economy’.

However, the arts and creativity are about far more than the economy: they are about a sense of identity, of community and individual potential. For this reason, Skipton’s Grassroots Giving programme is not only timely, but may send a lifeline to community arts organisations struggling for funding. Skipton Building Society has supported the Camerata since our inception and its annual funding maintains us as Yorkshire’s professional orchestra. We encourage local arts organisations to apply for the Big 160 funding.”

Another highlight of Skipton’s new community programme is the creation of a set of comprehensive free resources, to be available to all community-based Arts groups, which the Society is developing with social enterprise consultant, Jo Boardman. These resources offer help and guide grassroots organisations through challenges such as: raising funding, recruiting volunteers, and project planning – advance registrations for these free resources show a huge amount of interest already.

David Cutter, Skipton’s group chief executive said: “In celebrating our 160-year heritage, we recognise that our founding values of ‘by hard work and hope’ have served us well. We also believe we share this approach to life with many of our members. There’s no doubt we’re still in challenging times, but what makes communities stronger is everyone coming together. Grassroots Giving should help us to discover and champion some real gems in communities across the country, and we’re passionate about helping these organisations grow.”

The application process is being kept straightforward: application forms can be downloaded from http://www.skiptonbig160.co.uk or picked up from any of Skipton Building Society’s branches.

Applicants are simply asked to demonstrate how the £500 would make a difference to them, as the Society is keen to donate towards helping develop sustainable projects.

When the closing date of  July 31 2013 arrives, a shortlist of entries will be drawn up and placed into regional groups.

Each shortlisted application will be summarised and posted on the Grassroots Giving website in August – then it’s over to the local communities across the UK to vote for who they’d like to see receive the 160 pots of support.

For more info on the criteria and how to apply visit http://www.skiptonbig160.co.uk or follow twitter.com/SkiptonBS_GrG