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Suffolk Artlink’s response to Suffolk County Council funding news

Update 05/02/2024, following Suffolk County Council’s announcement of project funding.

While we welcome SCC’s announcement that they will establish a new project fund for Arts and Heritage, with a sum equivalent to that cut from their core grant programme, this does not directly address the cut to core funding. Organisations need core funding to cover their running costs and to ensure infrastructure is there to respond to project opportunities.
We are, however, committed to working with the County Council to help shape this opportunity. We want to ensure that any future arts and heritage investment addresses the Council’s strategic objectives, and delivers best value for the people of Suffolk. We therefore ask Suffolk County Council to use the next six months to meaningfully consult with our organisations and the wider cultural sector, to consider how this new investment can be spent most effectively to sustain the positive outcomes already being delivered for the County and its residents.
The painful process of the 100% cut to Arts and Culture grants, and the ensuing outcry from the public, has highlighted the complex eco-system of arts and museums funding in our region and the very important roles that our organisations have played in supporting the Council’s Health and Wellbeing agenda. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the public who lent their voice to our campaign and demonstrated the importance of culture to the people of Suffolk.
Original Statement

On the 3rd January 2024, Suffolk County Council announced that they are stopping core funding to Art and Museum sector organisations. This announcement is part of a wide range of cuts the Council is making.

While we are extremely disappointed with the proposal of the 100% cuts to the arts and culture budget, the team at Suffolk Artlink are passionate about the value creative experiences bring to people in Suffolk. We are dedicated to continuing to deliver high quality participatory arts opportunities with Suffolk’s communities.

Suffolk Artlink is an arts charity that helps people to be creative, make friends and live well. We work in the community and our services have positive health and wellbeing outcomes for participants.

The Council’s annual funding of £63,870 enables Suffolk Artlink to provide services to diverse communities across the county including children at risk and vulnerable adults contributing to Suffolk County Council’s strategic priorities. The Council’s investment in our organisation demonstrates excellent value:

  • For every £1 the Council gives Suffolk Artlink we spend approximately £7;
  • 60% of Suffolk Artlink’s expenditure comes from national funders – money that would otherwise not come to our local economy;
  • Suffolk Artlink employs 12 people and provides work to 57 freelance artists each year.

The Council will fund Suffolk Artlink for one more year and we will work hard to minimise the impact of this change for our participants, partners and artists.

If you would like to support Suffolk Artlink you could:

If you choose to write to your councillor, please be polite and respectful. Suffolk County Council is a well-managed council. Councillors and staff are sincerely trying to do their best in difficult and challenging circumstances.

A shared statement from DanceEast, Eastern Angles Theatre Company, First Light Festival, The New Wolsey Theatre, Primadonna Festival, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, and Suffolk Artlink – the local organisations impacted by Suffolk County’s proposal to cease investment in the cultural sector from April 2025:

“Whilst we will need some time to consider the full impact of these proposals, our immediate concern is how any decision might impact the people of Suffolk. The proposed cut to these organisations will provide an extremely modest difference to the Council’s overall finances, representing a saving of just 0.057% of the Council’s 23/24 revenue budget.  However, the ‘cost’ to our County will be so much more significant. Collectively, our organisations support 24,493 children and young people and 76,516 vulnerable** people through our community engagement work.  We also provide permanent employment for 154 staff, and project or contract employment for a further 499 staff.  Suffolk-wide, the culture sector plays an important part in providing employment for local people, with almost 6,985 jobs* being supported by the sector. Our organisations, both collectively and individually, call on Suffolk County Council to consider the merit of a small cost saving, compared to the huge impact this will have on communities across Suffolk who benefit from our work.”