Arts, culture and young people: our latest investments

We’re delighted to announce our latest investment cohort – three creative arts organisations benefiting from £650,000 of social investment. They are:

Young people dancing

The Arts Impact Fund finishes its investment phase

The investments into the Mercury Theatre and Effervescent represent the last two deals made by the pioneering Arts Impact Fund, which launched in 2015 seeking to test the idea that there is both the demand to take on social investment in the arts and culture sector, as well as an ability to repay it. In total, we’ve signed 27 funding agreements through the Arts Impact Fund, committing £8.7million. This is £2million more than the £6.7million we had to invest initially and has been made possible because of early repayments and the recycling of undrawn capital. Nearly £7million has been drawn down to date by our borrowers and about £1.8m has been repaid. Most importantly, thousands of people’s lives have been positively affected by our investees up and down the country – from Brighton to Wigan.

We’ll need to wait until 2023 to see whether our financial and social returns targets have been met, but early signs are encouraging. We’re now excited to be building on this success, launching a successor project soon – watch this space! In the meantime, we’re intending to share our in-depth insights into the investment phase of the Arts Impact Fund in the next couple of months.

Arts, culture and younger people

This particular investment announcement highlights the impact that arts & culture organisations have on younger people. Over 70% of our portfolio companies across both our funds work with children and young people and the three we’re celebrating today are great examples:

The creative process is fundamental to human experience because we create all of the time: sometimes in expected ways such as through painting or music making but, more often than not, in unexpected and less obvious ways, for example, through problem solving and our communication with other people. Arts and culture organisations are critical to developing creative skills and experiences and a vocabulary with which to engage the world around us. In the context of shrinking opportunities for arts and culture education in our schools, this role has never been more important. We need to deeply reflect on this. Many of the organisations we support within the arts and culture sector are schools for creativity.

This blog was originally posted on Nesta website on 15 January 2020.