Third Year of ‘Reading, Place of Culture’ Funding Opens in September

Museum object handling
Previous projects included Reading Museum object handling

ARTS, culture, heritage and voluntary groups are being invited to bid for funding for the third year running, based on how they can help improve the quality of life of Reading residents.

Two pots of £20K and one pot of £30K are available for arts, culture and/or heritage community programmes to run activities over 12 months, with the aim of engaging local people in order to have a significant positive impact on their well-being.

This is the third year of a three year project running to 2020. Successful bidders must work with one or more of the target priority groups identified.

Funds are available for arts, culture or heritage projects that help:

·         Older People at risk of loneliness and social isolation: 20k co-funded by Berkshire Community Foundation. Projects must use arts, culture or heritage activities to combat loneliness and social isolation for older people who face the greatest barriers to engagement in the community and in the arts.

·         Creative Employment: 30k match funded by Brighter Futures for Children, for creative projects working with young people who are not in education, employment or training, with a focus on particular provision for young people with autistic spectrum disorders and/or special educational needs and disabilities. Projects must provide meaningful work experience within a creative industry.

·         Women at risk: 20k co-funded by Berkshire Community Foundation, for projects that deliver high quality cultural and creative activities for disadvantaged women, in particular those who are at risk of modern slavery, exploitation, domestic violence and abuse, sexual assault and social isolation.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m excited, as we move into the third year of this fantastic project, to see the potential for even more local groups flourish.  I’d encourage interested groups to contact us for more information on the funding available and to register with the Council’s electronic tendering portal InTend  as the funds will go live for applications in mid to late September.

“We know that engaging in arts and cultural activities has a wide reaching beneficial impact on people’s health; improving recovery from illness, promoting community spirit, combatting loneliness and relieving the pressure on GP services. I’m keen to see how future innovative projects can help contribute towards supporting the well-being of Reading’s residents.

“The three projects we have funded during year 1 are already having a significant impact on the lives of the people involved and our year 2 funding projects are also now underway. Reading is the sum of all our amazing residents and groups and the efforts that they work so hard on to bring to fruition to our town’s benefit. These dedicated and talented people are an integral key to Reading’s ever-expanding and increasingly noted cultural offerings.

 “I’d also like to extend our thanks to the generous support from National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, which has enabled these projects to take place.”

The purpose of the fund is to enable arts, culture and heritage organisations to change how they work with the voluntary, community sectors and public services, to collaboratively contribute to meeting local social objectives.

Reading, Place of Culture funding is part of the Great Place Scheme, which is funded by the Arts Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. Find out more at

To apply for this fund, organisations must be registered with InTend, the Council’s electronic tendering portal at

The funds will go live for applications around mid to late September.

For more information or any questions contact



About The Great Place Scheme

In 2017, Reading Borough Council and its partners, Reading UK CIC and the University of Reading, successfully secured a grant of £558,471 thanks to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England for the Great Place Scheme.

The scheme funds projects in areas where there is a commitment to embed arts, culture and heritage in local plans and decision-making. The funding covers a three year period to support programmes running until December 2020.

The Great Place Scheme is designed to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities across England. Sixteen areas, including Reading, are piloting a new approach to enable cultural, community and civic organisations to work more closely together.

In Reading this will include supporting various community projects targeted at improving health, well-being and quality of life, as well as support for the Reading-on-Thames festival which marries Reading’s waterways heritage with a high-quality arts and cultural programme.

The Great Place Scheme award is external funding Reading Council has successfully bid for. That means it can only be spent on arts, culture and heritage related projects that formed the bid, rather than any other Council services. Activities proposed as part of the Great Place Scheme bid are strongly aligned with the Council’s priorities for supporting Reading’s economic success and the well-being of its residents.

For more information on the Great Place Scheme visit:

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

About Historic England

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. Find out more at

Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email or call 0118 937 3957