Bidding for ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ Funding Opens

ARTS, culture, heritage and voluntary groups are being invited to bid for funding based on how they can help improve the quality of life of Reading residents.

Three pots of £15k are available for arts, culture and/or heritage community programmes to run activities over 12 months, with the aim of engaging local people, particularly those less likely to access cultural opportunities and where engagement could have a significant positive impact on their well-being. Organisations must bid for the full £15k but can work collaboratively together with other groups. Examples of the kind of activities that might be funded: · Encouraging better physical and mental wellbeing: music programmes to aid stroke recovery; dance classes for older people or drumming workshops supporting mental health recovery. · Improving educational attainment and skills development: Creative writing with children to increase literacy; music sessions for young people with autism to improve social interaction or event production with young people not in employment, education or training, to gain employability skills. · Fostering social cohesion: community groups creating public art; intergenerational photography programmes between schools and care homes, or storytelling projects on local council estates. Successful bidders must work with one or more of the target priority groups identified, such as younger or older age groups, those suffering from poor health, physical or learning disabilities, people experiencing homelessness or those living in areas of deprivation or isolation. The fund is part of ‘Reading, Place of Culture’, supported by the Great Place Scheme, which is funded thanks to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England. This is the launch of a pilot year for the scheme which will be further developed during a three year period, running to 2020. To find out more visit The application process opened on Thursday 19th April and closes on 31st May.

Cllr Jo Lovelock, Reading Council Leader, said:

“The Council has a priority to address local needs in innovative ways – and this project has the great potential to help contribute towards supporting the well-being of Reading’s residents. “Research has shown that engaging in arts and cultural activities has a wide reaching beneficial impact on people’s health and wellbeing; improving recovery from illness, promoting community spirit, combatting loneliness and relieving the pressure on GP services. “This is also a great chance for local arts organisations to develop their skills in applying for commissions, with our guidance and support. It encourages arts groups to work collaboratively with voluntary and community sectors and public services to meet local people’s needs. “Culture and heritage play a vital role in Reading and I’m delighted that the town continues to gain in reputation as a location of cultural excellence. I look forward to seeing the outcome of this innovative project over the next three years and hopefully its longer lasting legacy of culturally enriching the lives of Reading residents. “I’d also like to extend our thanks to the generous support from National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, which has enabled this project to take place.”



In 2017, Reading Borough Council and its partners, Reading UK CIC and the University of Reading, successfully secured a grant of £558,471 thanks to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Arts Council England and Historic England for the Great Place Scheme. The scheme funds projects in areas where there is a commitment to embed arts, culture and heritage in local plans and decision-making. The funding covers a three year period to support programmes running until December 2020. The Great Place Scheme is designed to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities across England. Sixteen areas, including Reading, are piloting a new approach to enable cultural, community and civic organisations to work more closely together. In Reading this will include supporting various community projects targeted at improving health, well-being and quality of life, as well as support for the Reading-on-Thames festival which marries Reading’s waterways heritage with a high-quality arts and cultural programme. The Great Place Scheme award is external funding Reading Council has successfully bid for. That means it can only be spent on arts, culture and heritage related projects that formed the bid, rather than any other Council services. Activities proposed as part of the Great Place Scheme bid are strongly aligned with the Council’s priorities for supporting Reading’s economic success and the well-being of its residents.

For more information on the Great Place Scheme visit:

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

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About Arts Council England

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About Historic England

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