Press release issued on behalf of the Octagon Theatre & Westlands Entertainment Venue.

Local organisations and individuals delivering arts and culture projects in South Somerset are being invited to apply to Somerset Council’s new Open Grants Programme.

Three grant funds worth a combined £56,000 between 2024-2026 will ensure residents and visitors to South Somerset can experience high quality creative activities.

The Creative Commissions Fund, the Creative Ideas Grant and the Support Grant are being managed by The Arts Engagement & Outreach Service based at The Octagon Theatre & Westlands Entertainment Venue on behalf of Somerset Council.

Successful applicants will work in partnership with The Arts Engagement & Outreach Service to improve access to culture in rurally isolated communities, in areas of deprivation, for people with poor mental health and for the older population.

From Chard in the West to Wincanton in the East, from Somerton in the North and Yeovil in the South, and the surrounding villages and towns in between, South Somerset has been designated a priority place by Arts Council England and an area identified as one of the government’s Levelling Up for Culture Places, that aims to bring more cultural experiences to communities that have been underserved in the past.

Following consultation with key stakeholders including Somerset Council’s elected members, Arts Council England, Somerset’s professional cultural community, and local residents; the Open Grants Programme has been created for independent creatives, community groups, non-profit creative and cultural organisations or companies working across art and craft, circus, dance, film, music, opera, photography, poetry, puppetry, sculpture, song, storytelling, theatre, or another art form.

Individuals or organisations wishing to apply to The Open Grants Programme can find further information at

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, said:

It is great to be able to launch the Arts Engagement & Outreach Service Open Grant Programme that will be supporting creatives and cultural activities across the South of the County.

“Chairing the Octagon Arts Engagement & Outreach Board which is based at Westlands Entertainment Venue has led me to see first hand the great work that has taken place over the past year through the Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) award, and this is the next stage of the journey of our cultural resilience within the area.”

Adam Burgan, Arts & Entertainment Venues Manager, said:

We are delighted to invite applications to the Creative Ideas Fund and Support Grant to support creative and cultural activities in South Somerset that engage and benefit residents and visitors to the area.

“Over the past few years through South Somerset District Council and Somerset Council, we’ve worked in partnership with some incredible local organisations to deliver cultural activity in the area.

“We’re excited to welcome new applicants to the programme to ensure we continue to reach communities across South Somerset.”

A street performer jumping in front a crowd.

About this article

April 12, 2024

Jade Chant


Press Release