Funding allocated to Winchester-based cultural organisations

Press Release: 06/07/2015

Hat Fair

Mark Courtice, Chief Executive Live Theatre Winchester, Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair; Cllr Rob Humby, Winchester City Council, who works with Cabinet Member Cllr James Byrnes on business liaison; Carol Hussey, Economy & Arts Support Officer, Winchester City Council; with Catherine Arnaboldi and Phoebe Hoyle from the Organised Mess performance at the Fringe Festival at Winchester Hat Fair.

Winchester City Council’s new cultural grant scheme for festivals, major cultural events and arts activities taking place in the Winchester District has been a big success.

Individual grants of up to £2,000 have been allocated to 11 organisations across the Winchester District. These include: Winchester Festival, Winchester Short Film Festival, Worthy Festival 2015, 10 Days, Spencer Music Festival, Bishop’s Waltham Festival, Hat Fair Fringe and Winchester Wine Festival as well SC4M music and the Denmead Proms in the Park events.

The Council has funded projects which fit the aims and aspirations of the Winchester District’s cultural strategy. Local communities have used the grant funding to support events that will stimulate the local economy, develop the District’s visitor appeal and encourage community spirit and cohesion.

Cllr James Byrnes, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Local Economy, said:

Opportunities to experience the arts are hallmarks of sustainable communities. Thriving and excellent arts attract visitors and have economically valuable spin-offs. The Hat Fair Fringe Festival is a new feature for 2015, designed to support delivery of our own Cultural Strategy by supporting new talent and encouraging graduate retention.

These new grants complement the arts advisory service we offer and other cultural activities across the city including the Cultural Network events.

Michelle Walker, the new Artist Director of the Hat Fair in Winchester, the UK's longest-running festival of outdoor arts, added:

We're so delighted to have been given this grant by Winchester City Council, which enables us to provide a range of new opportunities for local students and recent graduates at this year's festival. We are committed to ensuring that Hat Fair has a positive transformational impact on the city, and with this support we'll be able to contribute to the City Council's own efforts to improve graduate retention, whilst also enriching the overall appeal of the festival. It's been a really simple and effective way for us to build a programme of valuable initiatives like the first-ever Hat Fair Fringe Festival into our activity and the talented students and graduates are already proving to be worth their weight in gold.

To find out about more about the Arts Advisory Service visit