Catholics Need Not Apply

This month’s Lisburn Partnership Funding Newsletter is headlined with a story entitled “Arts Council: Place, Identity and Art.” The article refers to a new scheme the Arts Council is offering to help provide funds for community groups to engage with professional artists within their local communities. Sounds straightforward and non-contentious enough? But wait, there is one major proviso: this £200,000 programme is strictly for protestants only.

The full text has been included below:

“The Arts Council has opened a new scheme modelled on the Awards for All scheme, but not funded by the National Lottery, for Protestant communities. Place, Identity and Art is a £200,000 programme.

The programme has been established by the Arts Council as a result of the Renewing Communities Report. The report has identified groups who experience rural isolation and those who cannot accept Lottery funding as being in need of additional support.

The aim of the £200,000 programme is to help small groups in Protestant working class communities to engage with professional artists to promote culture and the arts within their local communities.

The programme will give priority to applications for projects which:
deliver the arts in areas of social and economic deprivation;
address cultural diversity;
address needs of victims/ survivors.

Any group wishing to apply to this fund under the criterion of not being able to accept Lottery funding, must provide a statement from the most senior person within the organisation stating your objections to accpeting Lottery funding. If you are a member of a larger body, ie, a youth club associated to a Church, this statement should come from the most senior person within your Church.

You cannot apply for an award if you are able to accept Lottery funding. If you can accept Lottery funding you should apply to Awards for All at www.awards

This is a rolling scheme and applications will be accepted at any time. The final closing date for applications is 4pm on Thursday 27th March 2008.”

One major irony of note relates to the assertion that funding will give priority to applications which deliver the arts in areas of social and economic deprivation; in Lisburn, the three most deprived wards (according to the NOBLE index) are the catholic areas of Twinbrook, Poleglass and Collin Glen.