Cultural organisations generate £56m for Leeds economy following arts grants

Leeds city council leader Judith Blake

Cultural organisations in Leeds have generated £56 million for the local economy in just one-year following an innovative grants scheme.

Run by Leeds City Council, the arts@leeds project gives arts organisations across the city financial support to create exciting events and activities in venues and communities.

Now evaluation looking at the impact of the project over a year has found that the 41 organisations which received arts@leeds funding in 2018-19 generated a total of £56,799,450 of income for Leeds.

The programme of 2,331 activities delivered by arts@leeds funded groups over the same period also saw more than 126,000 people participate and were watched by a total audience of more than 1.4 million.

Alongside weekly advice sessions and workshops, the scheme gives small and medium-sized cultural organisations the chance to apply for annual grants of up to £4,000 and larger organisations the opportunity to apply for up to £50,000.

Recipients have included the Leeds Big Bookend, South Asian Arts UK, DAZL Dance and The Leeds Library, the oldest surviving library of its kind in Britain.

Some of the larger organisations receiving funding have included Northern Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Dance and Opera North.

As well as supporting local companies to develop cultural activities, arts@leeds also helps organisations to access other forms of public funding from organisations including Arts Council England.

The arts@leeds scheme is also a cornerstone of the Leeds Culture Strategy, which aims to help the city’s culture sector to grow and put culture at the heart of all major policy decisions up to 2030.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said that the funding offers “not only a pathway to important funding, but also a link to the others in the arts community who can give advice, support and share ideas.”