A music venue in Birkenhead has been selected as the first organisation to receive funding from the Arts and Culture Impact Fund by Nesta.

Future Yard has received a loan of £292,500 in the first round of investments worth £1.2m with five more organisations also set to receive funding.

The £23 million investment fund was set up last year by Nesta’s Art and Culture Finance team to offer loans between £150,000 and £1 million to help arts organisations recover after Covid-19.

Craig Pennington, Future Yard co-founder, said: “The last twelve months have been hugely challenging for organisations such as ours - and society more broadly - but we believe the experience of Covid-19 has shown how powerful communities can be.”

© Robin Clewley

© Robin Clewley

Future Yard will use their space as a venue to showcase new music talent and as a skills hub to provide artist development support and mentoring for up an coming young artists.

They will also work with local mental health charity, Open Door Centre to reach vulnerable young people with limited access to opportunities.

Craig said: “People who love music have acutely realised how important it is to them over the past year, how much of a role it plays in their lives.

“We’re committed to creating a new venue to champion and support new music in Birkenhead.

© Robin Clewley

© Robin Clewley

“This support from Arts & Culture Finance has enabled us to buy our building on Argyle Street, bringing it into community ownership.

“This has ensured permanence for Future Yard CIC and enables us to create long-term, sustained impact.

“We just cannot wait now to open our doors and welcome people into our new home. The Future Is Birkenhead."

Future Yard will be joined by four other organisations who will also receive loans to help them rebuild and recover from the devastation of Covid-19.

© Robin Clewley

© Robin Clewley

Nesta’s Director of Arts & Culture Programmes and Investments, Francesca Sanderson said: “The arts and culture sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As our funding has grown, we welcome more applicants from Birkenhead, Liverpool City Region and across the UK, especially during this difficult time.

With evidence showing that impact investment can help organisations build resilience, this model of financing will be more important than ever.

“It’s time more organisations in the sector realised how they could benefit from it.”

The Arts & Culture Impact Fund is open for applications until summer 2023. To find out more about how to apply, interested organisations should go to: www.artsculturefinance.org