Three-year grant for Artsreach

DORSET Council has announced a three-year funding programme for Artsreach which will keep touring arts alive in rural communities across the county.

The small team at Artsreach is understandably delighted at the news that the application to the Dorset Council Organisational Revenue Support Fund had been successful, securing the future of rural touring for the next three years.

Artsreach co-director Yvonne Gallimore said: “The continued support of Dorset Council is invaluable in enabling us to continue to programme, reaching out to the heart of rural communities across the county. Our volunteer promoters work tirelessly to make these events happen all year round, and this funding recognises both the work they do, and the quality of the work Artsreach tours, and has toured over the last 30 years.”

Since 1990 Artsreach has been dedicated to providing people living in rural Dorset with access to professional live performances and creative arts projects in rural venues and communities, at affordable and accessible prices. Its performance programme runs through a network of roughly 50 volunteer promoting groups and together the scheme coordinates around 150 high quality professional events every year, usually in village halls and often in isolated communities right across rural Dorset.

The confirmation of the funding will ensure that the scheme is able to continue to bring professional live performances and creative arts projects to rural venues, in turn helping to nurture strong, healthy communities. The Artsreach programme also plays a key role in generating much-needed income for vital community assets such as village halls – more than £33,000 was retained by rural communities through Artsreach activity in 2019/20.

The new Dorset Council grant replaces all historic funding agreements to cultural organisations, originally awarded by former district councils. At a level of £41,947 annually for the next three years, the Artsreach grant reflects a similar level to previous agreements.

Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council portfolio holder for customer services and communities, said: “I’m delighted Dorset Council will continue to support Artsreach. I know the work of the organisation is greatly appreciated and helps bring many great performances and events into our rural communities.

“As a council we’re committed to supporting Dorset’s cultural and community organisations, despite increasing pressures on our budgets, as we know they play such a key part in the health, wellbeing and learning of so many people.”

Asked what Artsreach means to them, audience members said: “Artsreach brings entertainment to places that would otherwise have little or nothing of the arts and is especially valuable for those without transport … [it] provides a vital lift to community life.”

To find out more about Artsreach and its past and present programme, visit www.artsreach.co.uk

Pictured: Tomato Tomato, playing an Artsreach gig at Shipton Gorge.