Access Fund North Announcement

A group of 17 people sit in a circle (on chairs, some pink, some yellow) around a speaker standing next to a flip chart with notes on it. The room they're in - ARC's dance studio - has plain white walls, a wooden floor, and dark blue curtains down one side.

Photo from Cultural Shift Conviva by Nick Wesson

ARC Stockton is delighted to announce the pilot phase of a brand new funding scheme providing disabled artists and disabled-led organisations with access support. Access Fund North will provide support for disabled people to attend a range of events where organisers may not be in a position to provide access for budgetary reasons.

Disabled artists will be able to apply for access support to attend both online and real-world events. This support could pay for access including notetakers, BSL interpreters, support workers and live captioners or palantypists at the events, and can be for one off events or a short series of events.

With funding from Arts Council England, ARC has worked in partnership with disabled-led organisation Little Cog to develop the fund and has consulted disabled artists on making the fund itself as accessible as possible to apply to. This will be kept under review as we progress the pilot scheme.

The fund opens on 7 February 2022 and applications can be submitted on a rolling basis until the closing date of 31 March 2022, although events can extend beyond that date. Decision turnaround is expected to be five days.

To apply there is a simple application form which takes a few essential details and can be submitted in written, audio or video formats. We can also chat about the form over the phone or on a video call.

To be eligible to apply you must be a disabled artist based in the North East, North West or Yorkshire, the event must be run by a group who have little or no funding, on the basis of being an independent or unfunded group, organisation or network, and attending the event must benefit your development, your work or your career in some way.

More information and application forms can be found here.

Vici Wreford-Sinnott, Artistic Director of Little Cog said, “We are delighted to see this fund develop – it means that disabled artists won’t be left behind in their professional development as their access is supported, whilst at the same time we can raise the profile of the need for all organisations to make their opportunities accessible and available to the incredibly talented disabled artists of the North.”

Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at ARC said “If we are serious about disability equality, then it is vital that disabled people are able to access as many opportunities as non-disabled people. They shouldn’t miss out because their access requirements can’t be met – their voices have been missing for too long.

We’ve seen access improve during the pandemic but this fund is designed to support events organised by small, independent organisations that don’t receive regular funding and are unable to cover the cost of access support.”

Acknowledgement: A special thank you to the North East Cultural Freelancers for supporting the initial idea for this scheme, and to Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of Graeae Theatre Company for his generosity in sharing information about the Access Fund they managed during the pandemic to assist our development phase.