A £500,000 grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI has been awarded to the charity Arts & Business NI, to support its Blueprint, a ground-breaking five-year partnership programme which will support small and medium sized arts and cultural organisations to become more sustainable in the long-term.

Pictured for the announcement of this first larger investment from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, a £500,000 grant to enable delivery of the Blueprint programme, are Martin Bradley, Chair, Arts & Business NI; Brona Whittaker, Head of Arts, Arts & Business NI; Mary Nagele, Chief Executive, Arts & Business NI; Paul Sweeney, Chair of Northern Ireland Committee, The National Lottery Community Fund; Conor Murphy, Finance Minister and Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director, The National Lottery Community Fund.

Dormant Accounts Fund NI, which is being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance, is supporting the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to be more resilient and prepared for the future. Individual organisations can apply for up to £100,000 from Dormant Accounts Fund NI to help secure their own long-term future, but this is the first larger investment intended to enable collaboration and develop new approaches to sustainability across a significant part of the sector.

The Blueprint programme will provide tailored training and investment, enabling arts organisations to develop financial skills, review their business models, and generate income in new and creative ways.

Arts & Business NI are bringing together independent and public funders to support this Northern Ireland-wide project, which marks a new and creative way of building financial sustainability and a stronger arts sector.

Martin Bradley MBE, Chair of Arts & Business NI, said: “Arts & Business NI is really delighted to secure the first major strategic initiatives grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI. Our ambition to create transformational change and build long-term financial strength in the NI cultural sector, mirrors the aims of the Dormant Accounts Fund NI.

“Blueprint will also see a cohort of public and private funders work together on strategies to create a stronger, healthier arts funding ecology.

“After four years of research and development, Arts & Business NI is excited that, as a result of this multi annual investment from Dormant Accounts Fund, we will now be able to open Blueprint for applications in November this year.”

Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this first strategic grant today which will not only help the long-term sustainability of individual arts and cultural organisations, but will contribute towards a more focused approach to income generation for the arts.

“We look forward to seeing the impact of this strategic project in the years to come thanks to funding from Dormant Accounts.”

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, added: “Over recent months I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of projects in receipt of Dormant Account funding to see first-hand the positive impact the funding is making.

“Today marks an important milestone for the Dormant Accounts Fund NI with the first strategic grant award. This multi-year funding will provide vital assistance to small and medium sized arts and cultural organisations helping them to develop their skills and income generation ideas to become more sustainable in the long-term.”

Arts & Business NI will be launching the Blueprint programme for applications on Tuesday 9th November at 11am, in an online event.

Register for the launch event now, via the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9GnkxuSNRXG1g12ydWCRdQ

For more information on Dormant Accounts Fund NI visit: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/dormant-accounts-ni.


Notes to Editors

Dormant accounts are UK bank and building society accounts that have been untouched for 15 or more years, where customers who own the accounts cannot be traced

Dormant accounts are defined in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 as those which have seen no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years.

Under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008, the Reclaim Fund releases funds from dormant bank accounts to the National Lottery Community Fund for distribution to good causes across the UK.

The Reclaim Fund Ltd. (RFL), which was established in March 2011 to receive and invest dormant account balances across the UK, transferred the first tranche of monies from dormant bank and building society accounts to the National Lottery Community Fund on 2 August 2011.

The National Lottery Community Fund received policy directions regarding the Dormant Accounts Fund NI from the Department of Finance in September 2019.

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest community funder in the UK awarding money, raised by National Lottery players, to local communities. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive.