Arts & Business NI awarded £500,000 Dormant Accounts NI Grant, to support Blueprint programme

16 Sep 2021

A&BNI awarded £500,000 Dormant Accounts NI Grant, to support Blueprint programme

Arts & Business NI has been awarded a £500,000 grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, to support delivery of Blueprint, a ground-breaking five-year partnership programme which will support small and medium sized arts and cultural organisations to become more sustainable in the long-term. 

Dormant Accounts Fund NI, which is being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance, is supporting the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to become more resilient and prepared for the future; individual organisations can apply for up to £100,000 from Dormant Accounts Fund NI to help secure their own long-term future, but this investment awarded to Arts & Business NI is the first larger investment, which is intended to enable collaboration and develop new approaches to sustainability across a significant part of the sector.

The Blueprint programme will provide tailored training and investment, enabling arts organisations to develop financial skills, review their business models, and generate income in new and creative ways.

Arts & Business NI are bringing together independent and public funders to support this Northern Ireland-wide project, which marks a new and creative way of building financial sustainability and a stronger arts sector. 


Pictured: Mary Nagele (CEO, Arts & Business NI), Paul Sweeney ( NI Chair, The National Lottery Community Fund) and Conor Murphy (Finance Minister) enjoy printmaking demonstration from artist Merve Jones, at Seacourt Print Workshop's new premises in Bangor, as part of the Dormant Accounts Fund NI announcement. 




Martin Bradley MBE, Chair of Arts & Business NI, said: Arts & Business NI is really delighted to secure the first major strategic initiatives grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI. Our ambition to create transformational change and build long-term financial strength in the NI cultural sector, mirrors the aims of the Dormant Accounts Fund NI.

“Blueprint will also see a cohort of public and private funders work together on strategies to create a stronger, healthier arts funding ecology.

“After four years of research and development, Arts & Business NI is excited that, as a result of this multi annual investment from Dormant Accounts Fund, we will now be able to open Blueprint for applications in November this year.”

Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this first strategic grant today which will not only help the long-term sustainability of individual arts and cultural organisations, but will contribute towards a more focused approach to income generation for the arts.

“We look forward to seeing the impact of this strategic project in the years to come thanks to funding from Dormant Accounts.”

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, added: “Over recent months I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of projects in receipt of Dormant Account funding to see first-hand the positive impact the funding is making.

“Today marks an important milestone for the Dormant Accounts Fund NI with the first strategic grant award. This multi-year funding will provide vital assistance to small and medium sized arts and cultural organisations helping them to develop their skills and income generation ideas to become more sustainable in the long-term.”


What's next?

Click here to sign up for the Blueprint Digital Launch Event, taking place at 11am, Tuesday 9th November 2021.

Read more about Blueprint here.

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.