Creative Communities – Connecting people and places

Creative Black Country (CBC) are offering small commissions of £500 – £2000 for projects that develop creative activity with and for local communities in the Black Country to make connections and support local people during these extraordinary and difficult times. Inspired by the positive responses around the world from balcony singing in Italy to digital choir platforms and #lockdownkitchendisco, we are looking for creative responses to the social distancing challenge which bring fun, joy and creativity to local people in the Black Country, and keep people connected.


Creative Black Country (CBC) work with communities in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton to explore and develop new creative projects with local people in the places where they live.

CBC aim to support communities to co-create new work with us that is relevant, authentic and genuinely participatory for people living in the Black Country. We also offer support to help communities to develop their skills and confidence in building creative and cultural activities*.

*Our definition of creative and cultural activity is really broad, and includes any opportunities for local people to explore their creativity through any of the following; performing arts, dance, theatre, music, visual arts, painting, sculpture, photography, design, crafts, heritage, museums, literature, poetry, storytelling, film and digital media.

The first deadline for submissions is midday Monday 13th April. There may be additional rounds, depending on the initial response to the call, budget capacity and current situation.

UPDATE we’re hosting an informal ZOOM chat Q&A on Monday 6th April at 4pm for anyone interested in finding out more or asking questions. Here’s the LINK.

Who and what we can support

The Creative Connections programme supports activities that increase opportunities for people to experience great creative and cultural experiences in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, by bringing individuals together to share new experiences around the arts, with creative solutions to the requirement for social distancing.

We are not prescriptive about how this is done, it could be a digital or analogue solution, or a combination of both. What is important to us is that local people are involved in the design and delivery of the project, and that it reaches people who may not normally have this kind of creative opportunity.

Our Creative Advisers are available to support you in developing and planning your project ideas. Anyone can ask for support from our Creative Advisers, you don’t have to have a formal group or have a fully formed idea, just a desire to do something creative in your local community and they could help you to develop it into a proposal.

We can invest small sums of cash, up to £2000, to help you to test out a new creative idea with your local community or deliver a full project. If you want to apply for this commission please read the following information carefully, it explains the next steps in how to submit a proposal for support. Our Creative Advisers can help you to write your proposal.

Your proposal for investment in your project
You will need to write a proposal of up to 1000 words or create a video of up to 5 minutes long, outlining your project idea and plans and provide a simple budget illustrating how the money will be spent.

Please include:
Your name & contact details;
Proposed name and title of your idea (if applicable);
An outline of the activity taking place (who, what, where, when and why);
How many people will be involved;
Time frame;
Potential outcome or benefit to the people involved;
Amount requested (please only ask for the amount you need, don’t feel you have to request the full £2000 limit, we only have a limited budget and can support more projects if lower amounts are requested)

Within the proposal please answer the following questions:

  • How will the project engage local people in creative and cultural activity, who do not regularly engage in the arts and culture currently?

  • How does the project involve local people in the design and delivery of the activity?

  • How will the project address the need for (physical) social distancing?

  • How will you ensure that the project provides a quality experience for participants?

  • How will you ensure your project is accessible? (e.g. if it is digital can you provide audio description, subtitles and/or BSL interpretation)

The activity should build audience engagement for arts in the region.

The activity must be new and must not have been previously delivered as a pilot/taster session or have already started as we will not invest in projects retrospectively.

You will need to complete a simple evaluation at the end of the project and encourage all participants to complete a short CBC evaluation (which we will provide).

You will need to provide basic documentation of the activity. This could be photographs, film or online documentation.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the necessary consents or permissions in place to undertake your project.

You will need to provide proof of project expenditure via the ‘expenditure form’ which will be provided to you on confirmation of our support.

You will need to be able to start your project as soon as you’ve been informed of our decision on your proposal. We will get back to you as quickly as we can after the deadline.

Are you eligible?  

Support is available to individuals, groups or organisations wanting to become involved in arts and cultural activity in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Groups and organisations must have some terms of reference for working together (i.e. a Constitution or Partnership Agreement).

Individuals might include: 

Artists, musicians, writers, performers, designers, promoters, producers, curators, directors;

Collectives, consortiums and informal groups of people i.e. a performance group (one member will need to take the lead and have the main responsibility for managing the project).

Organisations who CAN submit proposals: 
– Voluntary organisations e.g. arts clubs, collectives, choirs or groups that meet regularly;
– Arts organisations;
– Public organisations such as libraries, youth centres, etc.;
– Organisations whose normal activity is not related to the arts but who want to include arts in what they do e.g. an allotment or residents’ association; youth group, senior citizens group
– Not for Profit organisations and community groups, whether registered charities or not;
– Faith groups/organisations
– Schools i.e. affiliated parent/community groups. The activity should engage the wider community and the award cannot be used to subsidise work as part of the school’s curriculum.

Who CANNOT submit proposals? 
The following individuals or organisations cannot receive investment form this programme:
– Organisations that share out profits to members or shareholders;
– University students using this grant to fund their creative projects as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate course;
– Those running activities that do not benefit people living in Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton or Walsall;
– Activities that are already taking place or have already been completed. This must be a new activity.

Submitting your proposal

Submission deadline midday Monday 13th April.

Please send your proposal along with the Monitoring form.

By Email: with “Creative Connections Commissions” in the subject line.

If you would like to receive a copy of the information or monitoring form in an accessible format, please contact Rosalind Argo on 07736 275547 or with your requirements.

How we decide what we will support

Proposals for investment will be reviewed by the Creative Connections panel, which is a group of Black Country community representatives facilitated by the CBC team.

You will be informed within 3 weeks following the deadline whether we are able to support your proposal, and we will be in touch as soon as possible so that you can begin your project if you are successful.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming part of the Creative Connections or Creative Communities panels please contact Rosalind Argo on 07736 275547 or


Partnerships and working with artists: We encourage partnerships. It is a good idea to seek advice from local arts and community venues and organisations to help the activity reach more people.  We also encourage working with professional artists and naming the artist you are thinking of working with in the proposal.

Cash and in-kind Support: We do not require any match funding for this support. However, if you do get any cash or in-kind support for your project please let us know.

What is funding in kind: This refers to ‘in kind’ contribution to the project. For example, receiving rehearsal space without cost, expertise in voluntary time, equipment at no cost. It is great if you can tell us about any in-kind support you have for your project, and what the value of that would be if you paid for it.

What is cash match funding:  This efers to actual cash contributions to your project received through fundraising, other grants and awards. It is not a requirement to get cash match funding for your Creative Communities project, but you will be able to achieve more and reach more people if you do. Our Creative Advisers and the local Voluntary Sector Council Development Officers are available to support you with applications to other funders.

Rates of pay for artists: We are committed to making sure those who work in the arts and culture are properly and fairly paid. We are unable to suggest rates of pay for artists or creatives. We recommend you visit Arts Council England’s Fair Pay webpage that ontains information on where to find advice on this subject.

Acknowledgement of Support and Publicity: Those in receipt of CBC investment agree to acknowledge support from CBC in any publication, publicity materials, communications, website, or events relating to the project. Whenever possible, supported projects should also include the CBC logo and Arts Council England’s national lottery logo. CBC will provide all relevant logos upon receipt of support.

Monitoring Forms: A completed copy of the Monitoring Form must be submitted with your proposal.  Download here.

If you would like any information or advice relating to your proposal, including information on match funding, please contact us on 07736 275547.

Contact us /send proposals to:  

By Phone: Call Rosalind Argo on 07736 275547 and leave your name, address, contact number.

By Email: with “Creative Connections Commissions” in the subject line.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Creative Communities Commissions information or monitoring form in an accessible format, please contact Rosalind Argo on 07736 275547 or with your requirements.

CBC’s Creative Communities programme can also support you to plan for the future, when this current crisis is over and invest in your project….

The CBC team are still working to support creativity in the Black Country, even though they’re not in the office. We can help you in the following ways:

  • Connect you with a Creative Adviser who can offer advice on how to get your project started and connect you with other local community groups, organisations, creatives and artists;

  • Offer advice on how to promote your project and activity to engage audiences in your area;

  • Connect you with your local voluntary sector council’s Development Worker (‘DVSC’ in Dudley, ‘SCVO’ in Sandwell, ‘WVSC’ in Wolverhampton or ‘One Walsall’ in Walsall) who can offer support on identifying funding opportunities and help you to grow a long-term strategic plan;