Brass Bands England wins large funding increase from the ACE
The Arts Council England (ACE) is to fund Brass Bands England (BBE) to the tune of £828,000 over four years from 6 April 2018 until 31 March 2022, which represents a 46% uplift on its 2014-18 ACE funding and gives the organisation £207,000 a year to spend.
BBE is one of 831 cultural organisations sharing an annual ACE budget of £1.6 billion from 2018-22.
Announcing its National Portfolio for 2018-22 on 26 June, the ACE said that it represented ‘a fresh, ambitious and wide-ranging group of organisations that we believe will bring new energy to the arts and cultural sector, while reaching more people in more places than ever before.’
Brass Bands England is also ‘pleased to be recognised as an ACE Sector Support Organisation’ (an organisation that focuses on offering support services, as opposed to producing or delivering art and culture) and says it will now move into ‘the next phase’ of its development by undertaking a strategic planning exercise to create what it hails as ‘a new and improved delivery model designed to benefit the brass band community in new and exciting ways.’
BBE is now planning a meeting in July for the brass band and wider media to lay out its plans for the future and said a clearly delighted BBE Chairman, Mike Kilroy: “We feel like the ‘A Team’ – it’s great when a plan comes together! We have achieved exactly what we set out to achieve, but the most important aspect of this increased funding to me is that we’ve managed to demonstrate the value of brass bands, which should be a massive confidence boost to everybody in the sector. We can all walk an inch taller now!”
Mike Kilroy has led BBE through four of its most turbulent years, during which he has averted near financial meltdown following an industrial dispute that led to the closure of the BBE-owned British Registry and into a new era of structural development, financial overhaul and two rounds of increased ACE funding. He told BBW: “To say that other organisations either got a reduction in funding or stayed at the same level as before and that BBE has received a 46% increase, as well as been singled out as a progressive organisation by Darren Henley - the Chief Executive of the Arts Council - is fantastic. It means that brass bands are higher in the thoughts of people than they have been for a long time, which is good news for everybody.“
Mike Kilroy also paid tribute to the contribution made by BBE’s CEO, Andrew Coe, saying: “Andrew has done a fantastic job so far – he has operated at high-level government for big organisations in the past and he’s a natural diplomat.”
Andrew Coe contributed: “This funding represents a big increase, particularly given the current climate - there were rumours that the ACE’s brief was to spread its funding out over a wider area, so BBE has bucked the trend, which is great news because it could have been quite a different story. We could have been talking about having nothing, the same or less than before.”
Andrew Coe concluded: “This funding opens up a whole new spectrum and enables BBE to deliver the model for brass bands that it has been talking about and working on during the last few months. We have some hard work to do, but this funding just moves the organisation and brass bands into a different league, and means that we now have money to do things for bands, which is just sensible. There’s a lot more to say, but all will become clearer soon.”
It is understood that BBE is now planning to launch some large-scale national projects, which CEO Andrew Coe has been formulating, by April next year, or before.
Photos: BBE Chairman – Mike Kilroy and BBE’s CEO - Andrew Coe