As part of The Arches – Worcester, Cultural Development Fund Bid, Festivals were identified as a key contributor to economic growth. Severn Arts is the lead partner overseeing the Festivals strand of the project. In addition to the 9 new Festivals, funding is available to support existing cultural organisations to develop sustainable and long-term festivals and/or festivals-related activities which take place in Worcester.

In the context of The Arches Worcester, the definition of a Festival is a collection of events & activities that fit under a single umbrella that are in some way linked, either thematically or in approach. This funding will only support cultural activities or projects which are arts related. The criteria for the funding stipulates that priority will be given to organisations who are committed to growth and longevity and have a clear plan on how they will achieve this. This funding cannot support existing activities or replace lost funding. You will need to demonstrate that this activity is new for your Festival.

What are we looking for?

We are seeking proposals from local festivals/events/organisations which will raise ambition, inspire audiences, or enable them to take risks. As the main objective of the Cultural Development Fund is to increase economic growth, we are particularly keen to support plans which:

  • Create a long-term legacy for the arts in Worcester
  • Develop the skills of those delivering existing festivals and events
  • Provide employment opportunities for artists
  • Support emerging artists within an existing festival or event

You must be clear in your proposal what you want to do and why. It must be both relevant to the organisation and to the environment you operate in. We will need to understand how your proposal fits within your organisation and how your plans will develop your organisation and the arts in the City. You must also demonstrate you have the capacity to deliver your ideas and that they will increase your chance of becoming sustainable and creating a legacy for the arts.

Whist matching funding is not required to apply, please let us know if you have any additional funding that will support your application.

All funding must be spent by January 2022.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for any amount between £500 and £10,000 but we expect your proposal to be well thought through and realistic to the size of your ambition, the size of your festival/event/organisation and your ability to deliver and sustain it.

How do I apply?

Please submit an outline proposal in 500 words. If your proposal is successful, we will ask you to come and pitch your ideas to us in person. We want to hear about your plans personally rather than through an application form.

Your outline proposal can be sent either as a word document or a film or in whatever format you wish to present it. Please make sure you include:

  • The name of your organisation
  • The name of your Festival/Event
  • The name of the lead contact for this proposal
  • Contact details for the lead contact
  • No more than 500 words outlining your ideas for this proposal
  • How much you are applying for
  • If you have any additional funding in place

When can I apply?

For 2020 the closing dates for proposals are:

  • 9.00am on 26th February. If you are selected to come and talk about your idea, you will need to be available on 5th March.
  • 9.00am on 13th May. If you are selected to come and talk about your idea, you will need to be available on 21st May.
  • 9.00am on 9th September. If you are selected to come and talk about your idea, you will need to be available on 17th September.

If you are interested in applying for Elevate, we recommend you have a conversation with either David Edmunds or Elaine Knight before submitting a proposal.

To arrange a discussion please email or call 01905 953832. 

Please send your proposal to

Applications will be assessed by Elaine Knight – Arts Director, Severn Arts, David Edmunds -Festivals Director for the Arches Festivals and an external assessor.