Organisers of the Arts and Culture Impact Fund has called for more applications after it announced its first £1m of loan funding to the sector.

The £23 million investment fund, set up a year ago by charity Nesta, has so far provided loans to five arts and culture organisations across England and Scotland.

The loans of between £150,000 and £1m are to help organisations in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors build financial resilience and support their communities in the wake of Covid-19.

Along with Nesta, the Arts and Culture Impact Fund is backed by Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Bank of America, Big Society Capital, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Freelands Foundation.

Nesta director of Arts and Culture Programmes and Investments, Francesca Sanderson said, “The arts and culture sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. As our funding has grown, we welcome more applicants, especially during this difficult time. With evidence showing that impact investment can help organisations build resilience, this model of financing will be more important than ever. It’s time more organisations in the sector realised how they could benefit from it.”

Arts Council England executive director, Enterprise and Innovation, Francis Runacres, said, “As we begin to rebuild from the damage of Covid-19, cultural organisations will need to make the most of all funding opportunities available, and repayable finance can play an important part in that process. We’re delighted to support the successful applicants announced today, and we hope many more organisations will consider the Arts and Culture Impact Fund as part of their future plans.”

The five successful recipients of the fund are:

  • Kurious Arts – received £200,000 for Castle House, Sheffield.
  • Future Yard CIC – received £292,500 for new music venue and skills hub in Birkenhead, Merseyside.
  • East London Dance and UD – each received £250,000 to create The Talent House in Stratford, London.
  • Friends of The Pipe Factory CIC – received £250,000 to purchase the Pipe Factory, Glasgow.

Future Yard co-founder Craig Pennington said, “The last twelve months have been hugely challenging for organisations such as ours – and society more broadly – but we believe the experience of Covid-19 has shown how powerful communities can be.

“This support from Arts and Culture Finance has enabled us to buy our building on Argyle Street, bringing it into community ownership. This has ensured permanence for Future Yard CIC and enables us to create long-term, sustained impact.”

The fund is open for applications until summer 2023.