After just over 25 years of providing services to the arts, courtesy of all our amazing volunteers both past and current, Business in the Arts:North West will be ceasing to trade at the end of March. Sadly grant cuts and other pressures on our income streams have finally got the better of us and the Board have reluctantly decided that the organisation simply isn't viable going forward.
For those of you who are currently involved in projects, fear not, I will continue to be your point of contact until the project is complete. I am also planning to continue to match Board Bank volunteers who are already on our books for as long as I can and, if there are willing volunteers, to continue to do a small number of mentoring projects and Quick Fixes. I will also be continuing with some governance work. We will circulate new contact details as soon as they are available.
By the time the end of March arrives, BIA:NW will have arranged almost 1,500 matches between the arts and business volunteers and the value of these interventions will have reached close to £20 million. This success would never have been possible without the hundreds of volunteers who have put themselves forward to support the cultural sector through our programmes. BIA:NW could not have achieved anything without you - thank you.
It has been brilliant hearing all the stories from the arts about the difference even a Quick Fix has made for an organisation and how much benefit has been gained from the skills provided by the board members we have matched. And then there's mentoring, the programme which always received the best feedback of all.
Of course, it has never been just a one way street. Apart from the enjoyment and stimulation of volunteering in the creative sector, many people have reported on the skills development they have gained and the new contacts and friends they have made.
I would also like to acknowledge the support we have received from many local authorities in the region, especially Cheshire East, Chester and West Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool - without your support we could not have carried on for as long as we have.
Business support has also been crucial to BIA:NW and thanks should go to all the companies who have supported us during our quarter of a century history.
Last, but certainly not least, thanks to the Board (past and present members) and all the staff who have worked for BIA:NW over the years for all their support and hard work. For me, it's certainly been hugely rewarding - and fun!
To view our latest bulletin, February 2016, click here
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