Greater Manchester Culture Fund opens for applications

Cultural organisations are being invited to bid for three years of funding to help them provide excellent cultural experiences and opportunities in Greater Manchester.

Applications are now open for the “Spirit” and “Sustain” strands of the Greater Manchester Culture Fund.

The fund supports delivery of the city-region’s culture strategy ‘Grown in Greater Manchester. Known Around the World’.

The Greater Manchester Culture Fund supports cultural organisations that are committed to providing excellent cultural experiences and opportunities, and to helping to ensure the city-region remains world famous for its cultural offer.

A new investment approach, designed to better support the cultural sector through challenging economic times and to widen and diversify access to culture for all residents, was recently agreed by Greater Manchester’s leaders.

This new approach was consulted on widely earlier this year to ensure it best fits the needs of the sector. Future opportunities arising from this revised approach will be launched during 2023.

Over 500 cultural organisations and thousands of artists work within the city-region, creating the largest digital, creative and tech cluster outside London.

This cluster employs 78,500 people working in the digital and creative industries, generating more than £4.4bn in gross value added (GVA) per year.

Cllr Neil Emmott, Greater Manchester’s culture lead and leader of Rochdale Council, said: “I am pleased to see the Greater Manchester Culture Fund’s Spirit and Sustain strands open for applications.

“Our new investment approach recognises the importance of culture and creativity to the people of Greater Manchester and the contribution that culture, heritage and creativity make to the distinctiveness and vibrancy of our cities, town centres, high streets and communities.

“This is of particular importance post-pandemic.

“We want to support everyone in Greater Manchester to have the access and the opportunity to express their own creativity; making, participating, contributing to, enjoying and celebrating the distinctive cultural landscape that makes Greater Manchester a great place to live, visit and invest in.”

The five “pillars” of the Greater Manchester Culture Fund are:

  • Inspire: One-off development grants of between £500 and £2,000 to seed good ideas and sector development across Greater Manchester. This programme aims to support individual practitioners, freelancers, and grassroots and community organisations, with grants given across several thematic areas.
  • Spirit: Supporting locally loved and important organisations, this grant programme will award between £20,000 and £200,000 per year. Spirit does not require organisations to deliver across all of Greater Manchester, but they will be of strategic importance to the “cultural ecosystem” of the city region. The “cultural ecosystem” is the whole of Greater Manchester’s cultural offer, all the people who work in it and all the people who take part in it in some way.
  • Sustain: This strand will provide support for organisations who require £200,000 or more per year to deliver Greater Manchester-wide activity and support for artists and grassroots organisations in every one of the 10 districts.
  • Collaborate: An opportunity for organisations in Greater Manchester to form consortia to deliver the strategic aims of the Greater Manchester Strategy: Greener, Fairer, More Prosperous. Consortia will be expected to match-fund activity to bring the greatest possible value.
  • Strategic: This pillar represents Greater Manchester strategic funds to fund activity that support delivery of the Greater Manchester Culture Strategy.

Applications for the “Inspire” and “Collaborate” pillars will open next year. Funds from the “Strategic” pillar will be allocated through a separate process.

Greater Manchester Culture Fund currently supports 35 organisations over 2022/23. Recipients include theatres, orchestras, festivals, museums and community-based groups.

For this three year funding cycle bidding organisations are also asked to ensure they also meet the goals of the new Greater Manchester Strategy. They are requested to:

  • Contribute to the recognition of Greater Manchester locally, nationally and internationally to attract new investment, new visitors and new talent
  • Make a positive contribution to improving skills and employability of residents, including support for the creative education, expression and ambition of young people
  • Play a strong role in developing strong and inclusive communities and an improved quality of life for residents, particularly those residents at risk of disengagement or social isolation
  • Be able to evidence how the project will make a positive contribution to improving residents’ health and well-being

Organisations that wish to bid can read:

Online application information sessions are planned for: Monday 7 November, 11am to 12 noon, Tuesday 8 November 12 noon to 1pm and Monday 14 November 10:30am to 11:30am.

Applications close at 10am on Sunday 27 November.

Completed applications should be sent to


Article Published: 02/11/2022 10:11 AM