Added to Creative Stoke, 29th January 2011

Added to the Directory:  The Staffordshire and Black Country Business Support Fund was set up in November with a fund of £1 million providing £10,000 to £50,000 loans to small businesses, repayable over a four year period. Companies must be based… “Within the Black Country, Staffordshire and environs”, employ less than 50 employees, and have been turned down for loans by the conventional banks. Due to the success of the scheme, Staffordshire County Council is now contributing a further £0.5 million (matched by European funding) which will increase the funds’ resources by £1 million. This phase of the loan fund can support business start-ups as well as established companies. Full details at

Added to the Directory:  Stoke-on-Trent’s External Funding Team is dedicated to helping community groups and social enterprises to seek funds for new project ideas. As part of this, the team have an online funding facility called Grantnet. Local businesses and community groups can register with Grantnet, and once you get your password (which is sent by return email) you can begin to use and search the site. The Team also run a similar and more advanced system, Grantfinder, for a more in-depth search and further advice and information. To access a search using Grantfinder, or for any other funding queries, please contact: 01782 233119.

The External Funding Team also run free Grantnet training sessions for local community delegates, and follow-on Project Planning/Monitoring training sessions — for more information about these, please phone  01782 233119. The Team also produce the External Funding Newsletter which provides an up-to-date overview of the latest funding information. For further information or to register to receive this newsletter, please contact Mandi Marks at:

Other nearby local councils also have External Funding Team newsletters, and these are available to consult online, such as Sandwell Council in the Black Country; and Stockport near Manchester (inc. two different Lottery Funding newsletters).

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce now has its excellent free A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands available online in its new January 2011 version.

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme provides grants of between £3,000 and £25,000 for heritage projects involving 13-25 year olds. Projects come directly from young peoples’ interests and ideas, using their creativity and energy to help them to creatively engage with their local community and its history.

The Fidelio Charitable Trust is inviting applications for funding from art colleges, arts festivals and other arts organisations seeking financial support for individuals or groups of exceptional ability to enable them to: receive special tuition or coaching | participate in external competitions | be supported for a specially arranged performance | receive support for a special publication, musical composition or work of art. The Trust offers grants of up to £5,000 in support of the arts… “in particular the dramatic and operatic arts, music, speech and dance”. Application deadline: 1st February 2011. See the website for full details.

The Daily Telegraph has published a feature article on the ceramics entrepreneurs of Stoke-on-Trent.

Job:  Cheshire East Council’s Arts, Heritage & Museums service requires a Youth Participation Mentor. You’ll work with a group of young people known as ‘The A-Festival’ group, mentoring them to deliver a Youth Arts Festival in Crewe in July 2011. The post holder will also create two toolkits: one for young people, with a guide to putting on an arts event; and the second for organisations, on how to work alongside young people in youth-led projects. Contract based on 30 days @£175 per day plus expenses: total contract £5,750. Deadline: 9th February 2011. To apply, send a proposal to include the following: a supporting statement explaining why you are interested in the Youth Participation Mentor post and previous experience (one side of A4); examples of previous and relevant experience; your Curriculum Vitae; contact details of two referees. Please send your proposal to: Sian Rourke, Arts, Heritage & Museums Service, at:

Our local Arvon residential writing retreat, in nearby Shropshire, now has its 2011 Courses online. Specialist courses with top drawer writers include: Writing for television (June 2011); Writing for radio (August 2011); Graphic novels (October 2011); Young adult fiction (October 2011); and Screenwriting (November 2011). See the website for full details.

Louise Page (The Archers, Bad Girls, Golden Girls, Doctors) is holding creative writing workshops at Youlgreave Reading Room, Bakewell, Derbyshire. The dates are:

Creating Characters, Saturday 19th March 2011. “Memorable characters drive plot and storyline. You don’t need to know everything about your characters before you begin writing, but it will save a lot of time if you have mapped out most of their lives and how they respond in different circumstances.”

The Now Novel, Sunday 20th March 2011. “Stop dreaming and start writing. Stuck on page 20? Feel you’re never going to get to the end? The Now Novel is designed to get you writing and keep you going.”

Writing from Experience, Saturday 16th April 2011. “All writers use their own life experience in their work. This day looks at different ways we can shape our memories and family history for others and the commercial market.”

Writing for Performance, Sunday 17th April 2011. “Covers all aspects of writing for actors, radio, theatre, television and screen. We will explore how dialogue and conflict drive writing for performance.”

Soap Opera Writing, Saturday 14th May 2011. “This is a group writing day and participants must be prepared to write with others.”

Performance for Writers, Sunday 15th May 2011. “Standing up and performing your own work in front of others can be a daunting prospect; this workshop is designed to make you a confident deliverer of your own material.”

Cost: £35 per day, including refreshments and a light lunch. For further details please call 07970 203675 or email:

The Gallery at 12 is calling for local artists & makers who wish to sell work. The gallery is located at Eccelshall (between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent)

Applications from contemporary artists working around “concepts of identity, memory, loss and trace”, are invited for a residency at the Memory B(l)anks arts festival — to be held in June 2011 at MMU’s Axis Arts Centre, at nearby Crewe. “Socially engaged work or work deriving from relational aesthetics will be of particular interest”. The residency will run for two weeks from 2nd June 2011. Application deadline: 31st March 2011. To apply please contact:

Designer Maker West Midlands are running Portfolio Sessions at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, on Wednesday 2nd March 2011. The focus is “marketing and selling”, and the audience is “regional designer makers who have been practising for at least 12 months”. More information at the website.

The Exchange artists’ shop in Hanley now have print copies of local author Stephen Harvey’s new book. Set in Burslem in the 1970s and 80s, the book’s theme is childhood and domestic violence. Stephen’s book is also available as a PDF ebook.

Latest figures from Arts & Business show that private business funding of the arts has dipped nationally by only 3%, despite the desperate economic conditions…

“in 2009/10, private investment in culture stood at £658 million, a 3% decrease in real terms from the previous year.”

However, these are national figures. The Midlands is actually up by 3%…


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