Arts council reveals record-breaking NPO applications - Museums Association

Arts council reveals record-breaking NPO applications

Funder warns of 'tough decisions' with competition in London especially high
Arts Council England launched its 10-year strategy, Lets Create, in 2020
Arts Council England launched its 10-year strategy, Lets Create, in 2020 Artonik Bell Square © Vipul Sangoi

Arts Council England (ACE) received a record-breaking 1,730 applications for its 2023-2026 investment programme - more than double the number of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) it currently funds.

The investment round, which closed for applications on 18 May, is ACE’s most over-subscribed to date. It received a total of 1,663 applications for NPO funding and a further 67 for Investment Principle Support Organisations (IPSOs).

The annual budget available for NPOs alone is £428m but applications exceeded £655m. For IPSOs, the annual budget available is £8.2m but applications exceeded £17.5m.

ACE hasn't confirmed its budget for this funding round or the number of organisations that it will fund, but it has said overall investment in NPOs and IPSOs will rise. It is likely that successful applicants will include existing recipients of the funding as well as new organisations.

The funder will announce its new portfolio at the end of October, with the funding period running from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2026. 

“This programme will be particularly competitive and it is likely that we will be unable to fund many good applications, including from those organisations currently in the national portfolio, as well as those that are not,” ACE said in a statement.  


“We have a particularly high volume of applications based in London, where we will be reducing our investment, as set out in government’s instruction to us following the Levelling Up White Paper’s publication.”

The funder added that it would have to make “tough decisions” in London and the rest of the England.

ACE is running a Transfer Programme parallel programme to its 2023-26 NPO and IPSO funding, which will provide two-year business funding to organisations looking to relocate outside of London.

London-based applicants need to let arts council know whether they wish to be considered for this support by 18 July.  

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