This annual CBC funding combines with that awarded by Arts Council England and Essex County Council, as well as other public, private and commercial sources of income, to enable the organisations to contribute towards the Creative Colchester Strategy as well as the broader aims of the Council’s Strategic Plan, and to run a wide range of targeted community and outreach activities. It also acts as an important stream of match funding to unlock additional external grants.
Performance is monitored against annual service level agreements and the organisations appear before the Scrutiny Panel on a regular basis. Cabinet nominates a Member to represent the Council on the Boards of all three organisations. Between 2014/15 and 2015/16 the grant to Firstsite was reduced by a total of 15%; the grant to the Mercury Theatre by 10%; and the grant to the Arts Centre by 5%. These reductions were made in consultation with the organisations and in recognition of the pressures on the Council’s budget during this period. In 2016/17 and 2017/18 the grants were frozen with no inflationary increase.