Scottish Food, Drink, Leisure and Retail Businesses Give £1.7 Million Boost to Cultural Projects Through a Decade of Successful Partnerships

A total of 121 cultural projects have benefited from a collective investment of almost £1.7 million by partnering with businesses operating in Scotland’s leisure, retail and food and drink sectors.


Tue, 14 Mar 2017


About Arts & Business Scotland

It is being hailed as a decade of success for a pioneering programme that promotes collaboration between arts and business.  

Funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland and run by Arts & Business Scotland, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has been running since 2006. The programme is open to Scottish businesses interested in sponsoring an arts or heritage project for the first time as well as those businesses that have not sponsored such a project for at least three years. Cultural organisations having identified a business sponsor for their project can apply to the programme, which provides pound for pound match funding of business sponsorship valued anywhere between £1,000 and £40,000.

In total, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has invested over £7.5 million across more than 500 individual arts and heritage projects. By providing match funding for business sponsorship of cultural projects, it has not only helped a wide variety of arts and heritage projects across Scotland get off the ground but has doubled the benefit to participating businesses. The programme is open to projects, businesses and cultural organisations of all sizes – be they large and nationwide or small and locally focused.

One business in the food and drink sector to have benefited from taking part is Macsween of Edinburgh which, in 2014, successfully partnered with IDEOMS Theatre Company to bring the true story of haggis, its evolution and its relevance to 21st Century Scotland to an Edinburgh Festival Fringe audience. Thanks to sponsorship from Macsween, matched pound for pound by funding from the New Arts Sponsorship Grants Programme, “HAGGIS HAGGIS HAGGIS – The True Story” was able to push creative boundaries and bring the story behind Scotland’s national dish to a brand new audience, creating a lasting legacy for both partners. 

Speaking about her experience, former Managing Director of Macsween of Edinburgh, Jo Macsween said:  

“I believe that projects such as this make for a better society, based on a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human being.

“I’m so proud to say that many of team Macsween crossed the threshold of a theatre for the first time to attend the show and brought their families with them who were also theatre-going virgins, and many have said what a positive experience that was for them. Moreover, it united us as a workforce in an incredibly powerful way that has a long lasting legacy to this day.”

Chief Executive of Arts and Business Scotland David Watt said:

“Over the last decade since it started, we’ve been really impressed by the commitment of so many businesses in Scotland’s leisure, retail and food and drink sectors in supporting the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme. Their participation has collectively benefited arts and heritage projects across Scotland with almost £1.7 million of investment .  

“Looking back over the past decade, this programme clearly demonstrates the mutual benefits of successful partnership between arts and business. I would urge those businesses unfamiliar with the programme to find out more about just how rewarding arts sponsorship can be – and the hugely positive impact it can have on their reputation, profile and bottom line. With the participation and support of even more businesses, we look forward to making 2017 another year to remember for arts and business collaboration across Scotland.”

Applications for project funding must be made by the arts or heritage partner and submitted at least three months before the cultural activity begins. The project receiving funding must be completed no more than nine months after the date of submitting a funding application. Only businesses that have not sponsored an arts or heritage project in the last three financial years are eligible to take part – as well as those businesses that are completely new to cultural sponsorship.

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