Today, Friday 4 November 2022, Arts Council England (ACE) confirmed its National Portfolio of funded organisations (NPO) for the period 2023-26.

We are thrilled that Paraorchestra has been awarded an uplift in its annual NPO funding from April 2023. This equates to an increase from £253,582 to £998,582 per annum.

This is a significant recognition by ACE that Paraorchestra’s work aligns closely with its 10-year strategy, Let’s Create. Our vision to 2030 is to create a new ecology for music making that champions the talents of professional D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse musicians. A place where music, innovation, and inclusivity come together to make art that is more relevant to, and representative of, a contemporary society.

Our application to Arts Council focussed on using the next three years to go beyond ‘levelling the playing field’ for disabled musicians. We have ambitious plans to engage audiences across the country with new artistic commissions and our wide-ranging repertoire of shows – accelerating our unique way of conceiving, creating and presenting music for a rich mix of places and spaces.

We will expand our programme of artist development to ensure that disabled musicians can move from being seen as performers to artists to future leaders.

We will prioritise a new social change programme to influence policy makers and industry gatekeepers within the cultural sector to influence and promote long lasting sector change.

The rapid growth of Paraorchestra since the charity was setup in 2015 demonstrates that we have the experience to make swift change in the coming years. This additional investment will ensure that Paraorchestra can support turning Arts Council’s Let’s Create agenda from a vision to a reality.

Jonathan Harper, Chief Executive said:

“We are truly grateful to Arts Council England for its decision to increase Paraorchestra’s funding, retaining the organisation as part of its national portfolio until 2026. Let’s Create sets out a vision whereby anyone, whatever their background, can fulfil their potential. At a time of immense uncertainty, we will use this additional investment to accelerate our work to provide inclusivity and innovation in the orchestral sector, removing the barriers faced by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse musicians, composers, and creatives.”

Charles Hazlewood, Artistic Director, Paraorchestra said:

“I am beyond ecstatic at Arts Council’s new investment in the Paraorchestra vision. The Paraorchestra family is a large and luminescent one; I give thanks for each and every player, every collaborator, every member of our brilliant team of staff, and to all our visionary venue and festival partners.

Paraorchestra is already an unprecedented mix of professional musicians that identify as disabled and non-disabled. We want to go beyond levelling the playing field, always asking the question: why would you waste talent just because a certain person doesn’t fit a standard mould? With Arts Council’s greater investment, we can continue to grow the revolution!”

Giles Gibbons, Chair, Paraorchestra Board of Trustees said:

“This wonderful news is a tribute to the hard work of the team at Paraorchestra over the past five years, and to all the musicians, artists and creatives that we have worked with. From all of the Trustees, I give my thanks to Arts Council England and look forward to the next three years of incredible music making and ecstatic audience reactions.”

Paraorchestra is a Registered Charity, number 1163725. Alongside funding from Arts Council England, we are grateful for the support of our other partners, The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Bristol City Council.