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The Civic Cashes In

This July, Arts Council England announced their plans to award 140 grants and a collective total of £17.5m to arts organisations across the country as part of the Catalyst Evolve programme.

Catalyst Evolve is a new initiative that aims to support organisations like The Civic with a limited track record in fundraising to attract more private giving.

The Evolve fund will help The Civic develop successful and sustainable fundraising models by investing in capacity building.  Money raised will be matched by the fund over a three year period.  It is hoped that The Civic will then continue to generate new money for the sector and the town, beyond the end of the grant programme.

Clare Titley, Director of Philanthropy - Arts Council England, said: “Arts and cultural organisations are working hard to attract new income and particularly to encourage more private giving. 

We can see from the number and quality of the applications that there is a real impetus among small and mid-sized organisations to make a step change in their approach to fundraising and develop their business models, delivering greater returns.

I’m looking forward to seeing how our investment can have a real impact and watching the progress of the organisations towards their matched income targets over the next three years."

The Civic opened as an arts venue in 2009, and its main auditorium is just one layer of the original Civic Theatre, which has been split into four floors - three floors of which, totalling 22,000 square feet remain undeveloped. The Civic is on an exciting journey over the next few years; they hope to raise more than £5m to bring these additional floors into use, alongside the already thriving Assembly room and Gallery spaces.

Helen Ball, Chief Executive - The Civic said: "What we want to do is add to Barnsley town centres leisure and entertainment offer as part of their evening economy."

The Civic will work with Arts Council England and the Evolve fund to support the development of the empty space and develop the venue to reach its full potential.

Culture minister Matt Hancock said that the project meant "we all get more bang for our taxpayer buck".