Derry groups hit hard by Arts Council cuts

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News

The Arts Council has revealed that a number of Derry organisations face funding cuts in the next financial year.

Local publishing house, Guildhall Press, and award-winning website Culture NI - which is based in Derry - will both be hit hard as a result of the cuts.

Last year, Guildhall Press received just over £47,000 from the Arts Council - this year, it’s getting nothing.

Culture NI - which operates out of the Nerve Centre - says it could be forced to close next month because of the funding shortfall.

It’s understood that five Culture NI jobs are under threat, as well as loss of earnings to 50 freelance arts journalists and writers.

Guildhall Press has said it will appeal the decision.

In a statement, the organisation said it was “disappointed” by the decision of the Arts Council to decline their grant application.

However, it added: “We have existed for the majority of our time with other sources of funding, income generation and commercial funders and will overcome this temporary setback.

“We are confident that we will continue to succeed and prevail in the future.

“We greatly appreciate all the support, good will and loyalty shown to date from our partners, colleagues, friends and the general public and long may this continue.”

David Lewis, Director of Culture NI, said: “Culture NI promotes arts in all their forms across Northern Ireland, with a focus on connecting local audiences with arts activities in their areas.

“Culture NI is the one place where all strands of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture come together.

“This devastating cut means the arts sector will lose a significant resource, which benefits hundreds of arts organisations and artists each year.”

Overall, the Arts Council is distributing almost £900,000 less than in 2014/15.

It said the cuts were inevitable because its budget from the NI Executive has been reduced by 11%.