Second year of Reading, Place of Culture funding

Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Arts, culture, heritage and voluntary groups are being invited to bid for funding for the second year running, based on how they can help improve the quality of life of Reading residents.

Funding is available to organisations to deliver participatory arts, culture and/or heritage community programmes by, with and for Reading residents, particularly those less likely to access cultural opportunities and where engagement could have a significant positive impact on their wellbeing. The purpose of the fund is to enable arts, culture and heritage organisations to make a step-change in how they work with the voluntary and community sectors and public services to collaboratively contribute to meeting local social objectives. Organisations must bid for the full amount but can work collaboratively together with other groups.

Funding strands

This is the second year of a three year project running to 2020. Successful bidders must work with one or more of the target priority groups identified. Year two funding strands encompass the main themes of:

  • Elderly Care: £15K for arts, culture and heritage programmes to work with older people, particularly those with long term conditions and in areas of higher deprivation;
  • Cultural Short Breaks: £15K (TBC, £30K) to extend the range of cultural breaks provided to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing: £30K (funded in partnership with Berkshire Community Foundation) Using arts, culture and heritage for early intervention, prevention, coping or self-management for mental health conditions and positive wellbeing.
Further information

There is a cultural commissioning workshop for interested groups to ask questions and go over the commissioning process at Reading Central Library on Thursday 13 December, 11am to 1pm. To take part, email

The tendering opportunities open in January. There will be a two stage process and successful groups will be appointed in May 2019.

This year, three successful groups were awarded £15K: Reading-based theatre company Reading Rep; the charity PACT: Parents And Children Together; and The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in partnership with Reading Museum.

The fund is part of Reading, Place of Culture, supported by the Great Place Scheme, which is funded thanks to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England.