UPDATE: Norwich arts organisations’ delight at Arts Council awards

Cash winners and losers among Norfolk and north Suffolk arts organisations are digesting yesterday's eagerly-awaited announcement of Arts Council England funding.

Five Norfolk arts bodies will receive funding totalling more than �5.1m across three years, from 2012.

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Writers' Centre and Norwich-based dance company Tilted Productions have all received increased grants.

The British Centre for Literary Translation, based at the UEA, has also been awarded funding, though it is five pc down on its 2011-2012 award after inflation.

But the big loser is The Poetry Trust, based in Halesworth, Suffolk, which does not appear in the Arts Council's list of 110 national organisations sharing a budget which has been cut by almost 15pc.

However, another Halesworth organisation, the High Tide Festival Theatre, is a newcomer to the Arts Council's portfolio, receiving �200,000 pa.

The announcement came as hundreds of arts organisations across the country lost their funding in what Arts Council England's (ACE) chair Dame Liz Forgan described as a series of 'painful decisions'.

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Around 1,300 theatres, galleries and arts groups applied for funding under the new regime imposed after the government spending review cut ACE's annual grant by around �100 million.

Stuart Hobday, manager of Norwich Arts Centre, said they were delighted but cautioned that the Arts Council sum was a consolidation of more than one grant and actually represented a slight cut in overall funding.

'It will enable us to consolidate, survive and thrive over the next four years,' he said. Mike Talbot, board chairman, said the award recognised the centre's vibrant presence in the Norwich cultural scene.

Dance company Tilted Productions, whose administrative centre is in Norwich, richly deserved their funding because of their quality and distinctiveness, according to general manager Derek Purnell.

'We're absolutely thrilled,' he said. 'We can work in a more cost-effective way when we have the financial security to plan ahead.'

The Writers' Centre Norwich has welcomed its allocation as a 'huge vote of confidence.'

Chief executive Chris Gribble said they had established Norwich as the first and only UK City of Refuge for exiled writers, helped some of the brightest new talents develop their work, and welcomed talented writers from around the world to Norwich.

Helen Lax, eastern regional director for Arts Council England, described the centre, together with the British Centre for Literary Translation as 'a couple of little gems,' with national as well as local significance.

The writers' centre is currently leading a bid, in which the literary translation centre is a key supporter, for Norwich to become England's first UNESCO City of Literature and Ms Lax praised their excellent work towards that goal.

Under the Arts Council's newly-introduced National Portfolio system, any arts organisation could apply for the latest funding. Ms Lax said competition had been fierce across the region with applications totalling �58.5m for a funding pot of around �40m.

Their criteria had included supporting organisations which demonstrated excellence, were linked to their communities, had good education programmes and were important to the local economy.

'In terms of Norfolk, and of Norwich, I would say the arts picture is looking very healthy,' she said.

Nationally, over 200 organisations that received regular funding have not been awarded anything.

ACE announced that 695 organisations had been successful in their applications for funding from 2012 to 2015, including 110 new groups. But that is down on the 849 organisations funded under the old regime. Of the groups that previously received funding and continue to do so, more than 300 face a cut in real terms in their grants.

The 2012-2015 Norfolk allocations are:

* Norfolk and Norwich Festival �850,000 pa, representing a 87pc increase in funding after inflation.

* Norwich Arts Centre �190,000 pa; 41pc increase.

* Tilted Productions �190,000 pa; 41pc increase.

* Writers' Centre, Norwich, �365,000 pa; 62pc increase.

* British Centre for Literary Translation �128,000 (2012-13), �129,000 (2013-2014), �132,000 (2014-2015); 5pc decrease.

The Theatre Royal at Bury St Edmunds is also included in the National Portfolio and receives �120,000 pa; a 20pc decrease.

* For more reaction, read tomorrow's EDP and Eastern Evening News.