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A £50,000-a-year funding pot has been lost for the South Holland Centre – but bosses have hailed the arrival of another source of cash for culture.
South Holland District Council bosses were ‘delighted’ at news that our area has secured National Portfolio Organisation status from Arts Council England. This should see Ayscoughfee Hall become a ‘cultural hub’ with £2 million to be invested across our district, Boston and East Lindsey.
However, the news came as it was revealed that separate Arts Council cash for the South Holland Centre has been lost for the next three years.
The money came to the district through the Lincolnshire One Venues scheme, which also funded centres in Stamford, Grantham and Louth.
That cash bid was managed by Lincoln Drill Hall under its previous council-run guise and then by South Kesteven District Council.
A bid to get the cash for 2023-26 has failed, meaning the Spalding venue will miss out on £50,000 a year.
An Arts Council spokesman said they were ‘not allowed’ to say why the bid failed – but said other cash pots are available.
South Kesteven District Council did not not explain why the bid failed – but said it was ‘disappointing’ to miss out on the cash.
South Holland district councillor Gary Taylor, portfolio holder for communities and facilities, vowed to look at other funding – and highlighted the major investment for Ayscoughfee as a positive.
He said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that Arts Council England have taken the decision to end their funding for Lincolnshire One Venues, which includes the South Holland Centre, we will continue to work together to explore other funding opportunities and to bring great cultural experiences and opportunities to audiences and communities across South Holland and the rest of the county at these venues.
“We are also delighted that South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, including South Holland District Council, has been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status for the first time, securing just under £2m to support art, culture and creativity across the sub-region, and establishing Ayscoughfee Hall as a cultural centre for our residents, community groups and organisations.”
The National Portfolio Organisation bidding process was said to be hotly-contested, with the council partnership confident this will bring big benefits.
Details of how South Holland’s share – worth an estimated £300,000-plus a year – will be spent have not yet been revealed.
District council leader Gary Porter said: “Being part of the National Portfolio investment programme and the funding awarded will create new opportunities for our residents, community groups and organisations and support Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding as a central hub.
“The heritage of South Holland is what shapes this district and we should all celebrate the stories which have built our communities.
“Going to any event, whether it be a drama group, show or festival, can really help improve health and wellbeing. I am pleased this funding will help our residents access even more things to do on their doorstep.”
The South Holland Centre recently saw budget cuts in a bid to run it in a more ‘business-like’ way and reduce its £250,000-a-year funding shortfall. It’s not yet clear what impact the loss of the Arts Council cash may have.

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