Community Foundation for Surrey & Surrey Cultural Partnership take partnership to a new level

25th January 2024

An older woman holds up a painting she has done with teal, turquoise, orange and mustard yellow paints. It is an abstract pattern a little like a tortoise shell. The woman has attended a workshop at Park Barn, Guildford run by Watts Gallery.

In 2023 our two organisations came together to scope what more could be done to support the arts and culture sector in our county – in particular to tap into the huge potential of the sector to make transformational impacts to the lives of those who are most disadvantaged in Surrey.
Working together we engaged a consultant to review the history and geography of arts and culture funding in Surrey, and help us to identify whether there was potential to reach out to new philanthropists and donors in this space.

The consultant’s report can be accessed here and makes sobering reading. It is clear that for too long our county has been overlooked by a number of national funders. What is also clear though is the huge variety and vibrancy of the arts and culture sector in Surrey and we believe that there is therefore huge potential to come together to develop a new fund – by and for the sector.

Surrey Cultural Partnership will be launching their exciting new strategy on 25th January at and we have committed to continue to work together to develop our plans to bring in new funding and support for the sector.

Our vision is to develop a new fund which could:

  • Support Improved quality of life and wellbeing of the most disadvantaged in Surrey through reducing barriers to creative experiences and exploring how they might benefit from the transformative power of arts and culture through participation and engagement.
  • Support arts and culture organisations to develop their capacity to deliver programmes which will bring particular benefits to specific needs in the county such as mental health and wellbeing, place-making and social cohesion.
  • Support arts and culture organisations to be able to form partnerships with Voluntary and Community Groups and other stakeholders in order to co-deliver programmes to address specific needs and issues in our communities.
  • Support arts and culture organisations to improve their representation of all members of our community, as employees, participants and audience members.
Children paint on a long table with older women in the background also painting. The children and elderly women attended a workshop at Park Barn, Guildford run by Watts Gallery.

We hope that this fund will also go alongside pro bono volunteer support for some of the smaller arts and culture organisations to develop their business and financial skills. If you are interested in hearing more, or have views about what we should be doing with the new fund, we would love to hear from you.