March 11, 2015

Arts charity IdeasTap to close

by

End of an era

End of an era

The Arts charity IdeasTap has announced that it will be closing at the beginning of June. The charity was set up in 2008 with the aim of helping young people into creative projects and careers, through funding and mentoring. Its lively jobs board meant it was the go-to place for young creatives looking for jobs, internships and collaborative projects.

In a heartfelt letter on the IdeasTap website, the site’s founder, chairman and principal funder, Peter De Haan, explained that the charity had been unable to secure funding for the future. De Haan had been generously funding the organisation through his own charitable trust, which has been going since 1999. Unfortunately, the fund will soon run out of money and “efforts to secure government or corporate support have failed.”

The reasons for closing IdeasTap sadly mirrors why it was set up in the first place, as De Haan explains in his letter:

I set up IdeasTap in 2008 amid the fast-growing global financial crisis. My trustees and I could see the impact it was going to have on young people leaving education and, in particular, we were concerned about those entering the arts and creative industries. We wanted to do something about it, and IdeasTap was our response: funding for creative projects, unique industry opportunities, training, advice, online and offline networking, job listings and more – all for free.

The impact of IdeasTap has been huge. It has given away over £2.3m in funding and mentoring and created opportunities for 62,000 people. As well as having 200,000 members across Britain, its website receives millions of visitors every year. And it’s impossible to say just how many more young people have been helped by finding work, artistic partners and essential career advice on the website.

In six years, IdeasTap has filled only one of the gaps left by austerity cuts in the UK and the arrival of a government who has systematically reduced both central and local funding for the arts and other front-line services (yes, I’m putting funding for the arts on a par with health and education, because it is). De Haan is understandably concerned about what happens next:

After six years, the picture for the arts is still gloomy. Further funding cuts are coming. The cost of higher education is now dauntingly high. The recent Warwick Report suggests that the arts are not catered for by government agencies, and that arts education is steadily being marginalised – despite the huge value the creative industries offer the UK, both culturally and financially. I hope they wake up, and soon.

 

Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.

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