We aim to increase arts participation for everyone in Swale and Medway by
supporting the growth of creativity, invention and imagination.

Funding Bodies

We are offering a new and experimental award; we want to work with local people to get things happening. Alternatively, one or more of the following organisations may be able to help you:

Funding Bodies

Arts Council England www.artscouncil.org.uk

Arts Council England is the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery. Contact your local office for more information.

Heritage Lottery Fund www.hlf.org.uk

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gives grants to sustain and transform our heritage. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. A variety of schemes may cross over with Ideas Test projects.

Kent 4 Community  www.open4community.info

The community funding support website for the Kent area; grants and funding advice and information

Kent County Council Community Engagement  www.kent.gov.uk

These schemes are either administered by KCC or administered on behalf of KCC by a third party. Member Community Grants: each County Councillor has £10,000 per annum for projects benefiting local groups. Small Community Capital Projects: can consider bids up to £20,000 for larger capital projects. Local Schemes Grant: awards for revenue or minor capital projects meeting KCC strategic objectives.

Kent Business Grants & Funding www.kent.gov.uk

Kent Arts investment Fund www.kent.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/arts__culture

Enabling arts activity to take place and to support artists to develop their creative practice, in order to grow the Kent economy and bring about positive change for residents and visitors in the county.

Swale Borough Council Community Project Funding 


Each of Swale Borough Council’s 47 Councillors is given an allocation of funding to support local community projects. Councillors are able to ‘pool’ their allocations to support a particular project(s).

Medway Council Small Grants Programme  www.medway.gov.uk/communityandliving

The Medway Small Grants Programme is open to groups whose activities benefit Medway residents.

Royal Opera House Bridge shared these documents, which may help to pinpoint an appropriate funder for you.

Practical Advice

UnLtd unltd.org.uk

UnLtd is the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs; the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs and offer the largest such network in the world.  We will be working with the Big Local to deliver the UnLtd Star People programme.

Councils for Voluntary Service in Kent

Some organisations within Kent can offer fundraising support to voluntary and community groups including advice and on-going project support. Swale CVS & Volunteer Centre, Sittingbourne: www.swalecvs.org.uk. CVS Medway, Chatham: www.cvsmedway.org.uk.

Voluntary Arts info.voluntaryarts.org

Works to promote and increase active participation in cultural activities across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Information on all aspects of developing and delivering projects

ISAN isanuk.org/

A leading national membership organisation for the strategic development of Outdoor Arts. They develop the Outdoor Arts sector through networking, lobbying, information-sharing, training, research and advocacy support and advice for our members as well as proving general advice to the sector

Public Art Online www.publicartonline.org.uk

An online public art online information guide with links and resources to support both artists and commissioners. 

NCVO www.ncvo.org.uk

Champions and strengthens volunteering and civil society, with over 10,000 members, from the largest charities to the smallest community organisations. They are leading a consortium to support arts and cultural organisations to engage in public sector commissioning

an www.a-n.co.uk

The Artist information company: Lots of useful information and case studies, also great toolkits, some of which you will need to be a subscriber to access – contracts, insurance, fees etc. New publication called ‘Signpost’ to help emerging artists to find their way (esp graduates)

Artquest www.artquest.org.uk

Provides everything visual artists need to know by encouraging critical engagement and providing practical support.

Crafts Council www.craftscouncil.org.uk

Resources, research and professional development opportunities for makers, curators, teachers and anyone interested in craft.

National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing

www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk South east focus www.seah.org.uk

Social Enterprise UK www.socialenterprise.org.uk/about

The national body for social enterprise, it supports its members to help grow the social enterprise movement.

Just Act UK www.justact.org.uk/about

Just Act helps anyone involved with a community project to find information and resources.

Live It Well Six Ways to Well Being www.liveitwell.org.uk 

Health and Safety It isn’t a barrier!


Low cost insurers for small voluntary groups and individuals. We are listing these so you get an idea of what’s out there but we are not endorsing any of them – you need to look around and find the one that’s suitable for you and your activity.

Ansvar Starter Connect

Markel Direct

Events Insurance

Insure My Event

A-N (must be a member of the Arts Organiser scheme)

The A_N artist membership scheme which includes insurance – DOES NOT cover all forms. Writers, for example, are not covered.

Press Release and Contacts

We need to see news of our funded projects being shared as widely as possible. Therefore, recognising that many people might find the idea of a press release daunting, we’ve put together an example for you to use.

A catchy title isn’t necessary – thinking these up is a copy editor’s only joy in a press release. (Although you may wish to do so for online sharing). The main thing is to get across what it’s about. All you need after that is:

  • The ‘W’s: Who/what/when/where/why (you can change or mix the order, as long as all the info is there).  Online platforms will generally copy and paste; print will restrict the information to the bare essentials, so don’t waste time writing lots of flowery prose – just get the information out there a.s.a.p. Keep it short and simple, make it sound exciting and avoid repetition (journalists are very busy and do not want to read more than one page of text – if interested, they’ll find out more and add to it).
  • Our logo and a couple of images of the people/type of artwork involved should be attached as jpegs
  • Quotes add colour and are more likely to be included.
  • Call to action, if applicable.
  • Contact details: Website/phone number/email. There’s nothing more annoying than being unable to find out any more about it. Avoid just a Facebook page link – even if a public page, non FB users will be reluctant to go to it.
  • About us – Ideas Test needs to be fully credited.

The news release can be attached to an email or embedded in the body of it, with just the images attached. Please remember to send us a copy too, which we can use for our blog. And please send it as a word document, don’t change it to pdf or anything else.

If you have any queries, or would like further advice, please contact email: contact


Example below. You do not need to follow this word for word – except where Ideas Test info (shown in red) is concerned. You can, and should, adapt it to your needs.  You can copy and paste easily from here or alternatively, email communications to be sent a Word document.


For immediate release – New community art project in *place name*

Local *place* resident, *grant recipient’s name*, has successfully won £xx *small exp/comm cat* funding from Ideas Test, the creative people and places programme for Swale and Medway.

The money will be used to *brief description of project* which hopes to *what the idea wishes to test and the result it wants to achieve*.

The activity is/will be taking place *eg: on specific dates/across the summer holidays/throughout the next month/during the XX fun day, etc* at/in *venue*.

*Grant Recipient first name only* said: *quote summing up your feelings* and *call to action* (if applicable) eg: I would love to hear from anyone who’d like to be involved in the making/doing etc*

To find out more, please visit *website*, *email* or call *phone number*.

Ideas Test aims to increase arts participation for everyone in Swale and Medway, by supporting the growth of creativity, invention and imagination. By working with local communities and making links between organisations and people, it’s encouraging more participation in the arts to create a sustainable future together. Ideas Test is part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places Programme. Contact 07713 865955 or visit www.ideastest.co.uk for more information.

Please find images attached.




Cfreeman (Clare, local reporter)


james – (Going on in Medway/Going on in Kent)






brian – deadline approx. 2 months before event

medway.matters (small snippets for the community section, not a long press release, deadline approx. 2 months before event)


Community correspondents in the Medway Messenger – these are individuals you can send brief event details to for inclusion in the village columns, e.g. I (Jaye) cover Rochester, Upchurch, Upnor and Shorne. You’ll find their email addresses at the top of the column for that village. Feel free to send a small report/photos after the event too, as these may be shared on the front page of the community section.


hrobinson – Hayley, covers Sittingbourne

ldyson – Lewis, covers Sheppey





newsdesk.thanet  (Faversham Times)

zoe (Sittingbourne.me website)








kent – can now be keyed by yourself

events – need a couple of weeks for it to show. You can key yourself or email.

clubs – deadline approx.  2 months before




natasha – if planning many events, Natasha may be able to add you as an author


editor deadline around 20th of each month


http://www.themediadirectory.com/ – worth checking to see if you can get anything in there

http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/creative-industries# – again, worth checking out in case they share news

Arts news – you can log in and key yourself: http://www.artsjobs.org.uk/arts-news-listings/

Rachael Hale, Kent Life – heritage/history stuff: buildings and people, particularly WW1 this year. Rachael

Kent on Sunday – Chris.britcher or molly.kersey

www.kentonline.co.uk/whatson – click ‘submit a listing’ and add your event on.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/submit-a-story/ – similarly you can add it here too.


hello – insideKent magazine

www.affinityradio.net click their red button for ‘dedications’ – they will plug.Media listing

There are many information sharers on Twitter, if you tweet them a link, e.g @WOIRochester, @goingoninkent Check the Media List under @IdeasTest, as you may see some others that may be more specific to your area e.g Upchurch Matters, Village Voices (Hoo) Iwade Village. Just click on ‘Members’ and you’ll see the whole list. We also have a number of radio stations and ME1TV – it might be worth setting up interviews for yourselves with them. On Facebook, there are groups such as Medway Community Spirit on whose page you could add links.

This is by no means exhaustive – we’re still coming across more. If you find one not on the list, please let us know. Please also note – most rarely reply to confirm receipt!

For more information regarding advocacy work, please visit the Arts Council Advocacy Toolkit.

Creating an on line presence

It’s important to have an on-line presence by way of your own home page or blog, which details your project and enables information to be found easily. It should contain everything anyone might want to know about you.

While it’s tempting to stick to social media, this can be off putting to people who don’t use it. A website or blog they can refer to is preferable, with contact details available – there’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to ask questions or send feedback.

The basic usage of all these mentioned is free.


With ready-made templates in Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and many others, it isn’t as difficult or as time consuming as you might think – keep it simple or tweak (no html or coding required) for something more personal. Many templates now can be tweaked to look like a traditional website; some have a drag and drop function to create a truly unique site for you. Here are a few to look at:

http://www.blogger.com/features – You will need a Google account (an existing gmail will do or set up a brand new one).






However, social media has its place. It helps you engage with your audience, find new people and become part of a community. Ignore detractors’ suggestions that it makes you less likely to socialise: social media frequently leads to meet ups, sharing and collaboration in real life, with people you otherwise may not come across. It also helps to share relevant information and importantly, direct people back to your home page.

The downside is that it can be time consuming so …

  •   Build online time into your planning and daily schedule
  • Ÿ  Don’t feel you have to use every single platform out there
  • Ÿ  Start with the basics and then explore when more comfortable and have time
  • Ÿ  Don’t duplicate – except with your scheduled ‘broadcast’ posts (see ‘Twitterfeed’ note below)
  • Ÿ  Don’t use one platform to direct people to another one – make them individual. If re-directing anywhere, it should be to your home page – but not every post!


Here’s a brief guide to the most popular. Most, if not all, will be available on a desk top and as apps for smartphones and tablets so you can update from anywhere.


TWITTER …is a good place to start, as many other platforms let you sign into them with your Twitter login. http://twitter.com/


Populate your profile – at least a banner picture, profile pic, bio and location – not detailed but enough to let other users know you’re a real person/they share your interests/they‘re local. Add a permanent link to your home page too.

Reciprocate – if someone is good enough to RT you, thank them and/or return the favour.

Make use of the ‘List’ facility – if all goes well, you’ll end up following and being followed by hundreds. The lists help you keep tabs on certain timelines, friends, family etc – you can even keep a list secret.

Target relevant users who are genuinely interested in you and your project – they’ll likely share your updates. (See reciprocate above) Use the reply @ directly to them rather than spamming your timeline.

Search for like-minded/local people to follow and engage with – if you don’t follow them, they won’t know you’re there.

Share similar activity/information by other people – you’ll naturally grow your following if the information is relevant and interesting.

Remember – it’s called ‘Social’ media for a reason – just posting your own thing and ignoring everyone will not increase your following or engagement levels. And if you can’t think of or find anything interesting or witty, pictures of cute baby animals, nature or food will do!

TWEETDECK – if you have a lot of news to share, a set day to work and want to spread it out across the week, this is Twitter’s own scheduling tool and it’s very simple to use. It’s good for those ‘broadcast’ tweets that you’d send regularly eg. Have you signed up for our newsletter yet? or for spreading out interesting news you’ve come across that you don’t want to RT all in one go.  http://tweetdeck.twitter.com/



Never, ever click a link sent to you in a Direct Message, unless you’re expecting it – this is how the majority of users get hacked. Even if it’s a friend, trusted users can get caught, so double check with them first.

If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online. Quite rightly, on line bullying and abuse is being prosecuted so think before you hit that button. It can be hard to get across what you mean in 140 characters so just be aware how it might sound to others. (You can always delete it and write another if you hit enter and then regret it).

Don’t spam your timeline with the same message in quick succession (see above re targeting). Spread them out over a few days and try to write them differently (see above re Tweetdeck). Broadcasting only your own information and not actually holding conversations with followers can put people off following you.

Don’t worry about follower numbers. It’s about quality not quantity – better to have a small number you engage with regularly than a huge number you mostly ignore. The network will grow organically.


FACEBOOK … again, populate your banner picture, profile and bio – preferably with the same images and details as your Twitter, for continuity and identity. Even if you haven’t got a specific logo, a decent eye catching image will help engage. http://www.facebook.com/

If you already have an individual profile, create a fan page or a group for your project – think about if you have regular people who take part in your activity (a group may be best) or whether it’s an ad hoc or one off event (stick with a page). As a page, you can create individual events to invite users to.

If you haven’t got a profile, you will need to register before you can do either of the above. However, if you’re concerned about the privacy issues, you don’t have to fill in all your personal details such as address – and you can quite cheerfully lie about your birth date. You can also make your individual profile private, whilst having a public page or group. But be aware you can be seen if posting in the group or on the page.

If you get fed up being invited to play stupid games, you can turn off the notifications. Hurrah!


STORIFY … is a lovely platform you can sign into with Twitter, and is particularly good for capturing an event many people have been talking about on social media. You search for an agreed hashtag or look at users and timelines and simply drag the content you want into the post. You can also write text in between. However, be aware that it will only access the last seven days on Twitter. http://storify.com/


VINE … another one you can sign into via Twitter. It takes a little working out but for capturing short, seven second video clips and easy sharing on its own platform and via Twitter, you can create nice visual soundbites to colour in your activity. http://vine.co/ (that is the complete address although it looks odd!)


FLICKR … if you’re creating a gallery of many images, Flickr lets you organise into albums and subsets – plus, you can literally drag images directly into the upload function.  http://www.flickr.com/


TWITTERFEED … You can set this up so your blog posts will automatically feed into your social media streams when you‘ve posted them. While it’s nice to do it personally to each, if time is an issue then this is a great help. http://twitterfeed.com/


Other social media includes Instagram, http://instagram.com/ which has become very popular with photo bloggers, and also Pinterest http://uk.pinterest.com/ – a warning, it’s massively addictive – but can be harnessed very well in terms of engagement. Linked In http://www.linkedin.com is generally more business-like than social, so this may be something you wish to explore if heading in that direction. Audio Boom is a terrific little app that lets you record an interview for sharing. http://audioboom.com/


MAILCHIMP … an extension of your social media is the newsletter. A good way to email directly to interested parties, with links back to the news on your home page or directly to event booking sites. http://mailchimp.com/


As previously mentioned, time will be an issue so it’s better to have fewer fully active social media strands than half-hearted attempts at all of them.


Good luck!





Get Inspired

GoKent www.gokent.co.uk

Fun Palaces www.funpalaces.co.uk

Meanwhile Space www.meanwhilespace.com

A community interest company working to activate empty spaces while they wait to fulfil their longer term purpose. See also Pop up People:   http://emptyshops.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/popuppeoplereport.pdf

The Guardian Culture Professionals Network www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network Creative thinking, advice and connections

Creative Choices www.creative-choices.co.uk

Information for anyone interested in developing a career in the creative industries

Ideas Tap www.ideastap.com

Opportunities, advice and much much more.

Startacus startacus.net

The self start society: collaboration, community, learn, share, connect, bring a project to life.