A New Direction & Cockpit Arts partnership

This partnership between A New Direction and Cockpit Arts aims to support arts and cultural organisations to engage with and secure funding from the housing sector. Both organisations are interested in the role of housing associations (public sector) and housing developers (private sector) in supporting the development and sustainability of arts organisations across England.

With the establishment of the Cultural Commissioning Programme in 2013, arts organisations have been able to access a programme of support to better engage with public sector commissioning. With a responsibility to support their communities, housing associations are a key public sector commissioner.

Alongside this, arts organisations have seen increased engagement with housing developers (private sector), for example the provision of education activities and artworks within new housing developments.

Despite these opportunities, there exists limited ongoing engagement and discussion amongst arts organisations around the role of funding available from the housing sector.

In May 2015 HACT (an agency working in the housing sector) hosted a workshop examining the role of arts organisations in supporting the strategic priorities of housing associations. HACT described this meeting as ‘the first national meeting of arts organisations and housing associations’, highlighting the limited engagement of arts organisations and the housing sector.

Alongside this, A New Direction recently co-ordinated a funding round (the ‘Cultural Education Challenge’), in which applicants could request funding of £300,000, on the condition that 100% match funding could be provided. Of 45 applicants, only 5 secured match funding from the housing sector, with these bids amongst the strongest submitted.

The key outcome of this meeting will be improved understanding of funding opportunities within the housing sector for arts organisations, specifically an improved level of confidence.