Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Funding for Organisations
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Annual Funding Programme

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

The over-riding aim of the Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme is to support Northern Ireland’s arts infrastructure through grants to organisations in all artforms and practices for their core and programming costs.

Organisations receiving support must demonstrate that they require a year-round resource and should apply for their complete programme for the year.

In addition, there is an optional sustainability element running in parallel with the Annual Funding Programme. This is designed to help organisations take appropriate action to ensure their future sustainability through the implementation of permanent, significant change measures helping it transform the delivery of its services. 

All applications should fit within the objectives stated in the Council’s five year plan and within its artform policies.   

Who can apply?

• Non-profit distributing organisations which can demonstrate they require a year-round resource to deliver the programme

• Commercial organisations can only apply for support if the proposed programme is primarily for the benefit of the public and where there are plans to re-invest any surplus into a similar programme.

• ALL organisations must have received at least £10,000 in one of the last three financial years from the Arts Council (2015/16, 2014/15 or 2013/14).

How to apply?

Having taken into account client feedback during 2015/16, the Council has decided to divide this year’s programme into 3 distinct elements as listed below.  It is anticipated that clients will receive funding from both Exchequer and Lottery sources.

(i) Core costs   These costs will be met from Exchequer funds
(ii) Programming costs  These costs will be met from Lottery funds

If awarded there can be no movement between the core and programming elements.

(iii) Sustainability   This is Lottery-funded and if you intend to apply

you MUST first discuss your proposal for transformation with your officer to assess its suitability under this particular element. Whilst not an exhaustive list, measures could include:

• Developing new business models;
• Establishing artform hubs;
• Exploring alternative sources of finance
• Mergers/partnerships
• Artform collaborations

Annual Funding Programme 2016-17 Guidance Notes
Instructions for Uploading documents to GFD
Sample Application Form Part One - Core
Sample Application Form Part Two - Programming
Sample Application Form Part 3 - Sustainability
Safeguarding Checklist
AFP Commitment Statement
Criteria 1 and 2: Drama and Dance
Criteria 1 and 2: Literature
Criteria 1 and 2: Music and Opera
Criteria 1 and 2: Studio Groups and Residential
Criteria 1 and 2: Traditional Arts
Criteria 1 and 2: Venues and Festivals
Criteria 1 and 2: Visual, Craft and Architecture
Criteria 1 and 2: Participatory Arts
Criteria 3: Governance, All Artforms
Sustainability Descriptors

Applicants may only apply online. We will not accept applications in hard copy or by email.

Online applications may be edited, saved and returned up to the closing date. You can return each part of the application separately but you MUST submit ALL documents associated with any part of the application at the same time. 

All documents must be in Word, Excel or pdf format.  We cannot accept documents in other formats.   Total size of documents should not exceed 25 Mb.

NOTE: File names of attachments uploaded to online application MUST only contain letters and numbers, not other characters (such as @ # ‘; , etc.)

Please ensure you consult the programme guidance notes and sample application forms before completing the online application as there are a number of changes to the application process 

You may submit applications using the links below

To start a new AFP Core Application click here

To edit an application already started and saved click here


To start a new AFP Programming Application click here

To edit an application already started and saved click here


To start a new AFP Sustainability Application click here

To edit an application already started and saved click here