Arts Access and Participation Fund to pause new applications and develop new criteria

Published: 29 November 2023 
Author: Shoubhik Bandopadhyay 
Young people are rehearing a dance in a black studio room. The girl at the front is wearing a purple t-shirt and is posing with her right arm stretched out in front of her, with her left arm more relaxed by her side
SLiDE Dance. Photo credit: Sarah Hickson

We will pause new applications to the Arts Access and Participation Fund between 15 December 2023 (12 noon) and 1 April 2024.

We’re taking this time to review the purpose and criteria of the Fund and the application process. Anyone interested in the Fund will not be able to apply during this period, and we will also not be taking new requests for enquiry calls in this period.

Why the pause now?

Over the past year, we have been working with a learning partner to review the purpose of the Fund, and we will use this time to improve how the Fund operates and its criteria. Our intention is to be clearer about what the Fund is trying to achieve, and which applications are likely to be funded. We also want to make the application process and expected timescales clearer. We will launch the new criteria and application process in April when we re-open to applications.

We are very aware that there is a lot of financial pressure at the moment as arts organisations contend with the impact of rising costs and recovery after Covid. Pausing to new applications will not impact on the total funding we distribute this financial year, which will remain at £6.5 million through this funding stream.

If you have any questions, get in touch with us at

You’ll also find answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Frequently asked questions

Head of Programme – Arts