STAFF members at a South Tyneside theatre have 300,000 reasons to smile today.
Workers at the Customs House, in South Shields, are celebrating after securing £300,033 of Arts Council England (ACE) funding.
The national agency will provide the money in order to support the Mill Dam venue for three years, from 2015 to 2018.
The boost comes after the Customs House was named in ACE’s National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) list. The theatre has held the status since 2012.
The cash is set to be used to support the venue’s cultural development team, which runs community arts projects across the borough, and its art gallery.
Executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “All of us here at the Customs House are delighted to have been awarded NPO status by Arts Council England, for our cultural development and gallery programmes.
“The funding secured will enable us to continue to build on our exciting work with children and young people, our communities and artists.
“We understand in these difficult economic times that tough decisions have to be made and we are thankful that we will be able to serve our community with excellent arts provision, and much-needed investment in the arts.
“We’d like to thank all of our stakeholders and partners, and in particular South Tyneside Council, for their support and look forward to the future.”
The venue was also recently made one of just 18 Arts Award Good Practice Centres for the work it does with children and young people, in North and South Tyneside.
The Customs House also runs a series of Arts Award summer schools, which allow young people to earn a qualification whilst taking part in an activity they enjoy, including everything from playing an instrument to designing comic books.
Cultural development manager, Emma Horsman, added: “We feel extremely privileged to have NPO status and Arts Council England support once again.
“We facilitate a lot of fantastic projects and will continue to build on these, providing opportunities for our community, children and young people and artists to engage and shape our work.”
Nationally, 670 arts organisations obtained funding for the next three years, 46 arts organisations have joined the National Portfolio, while 58 have lost NPO status.
Venues and organisations in the north were granted £77,297,794 worth of funding for the financial year 2014/15.
For 2015/16 the figure has risen by 3.1 per cent to £79,656.892.
Most areas across the country saw an increase in their funding, with the exception of London, which is down four per cent to £162,663,845.
Other organisations in the region to receive funding are Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, which was given £500,000, and the National Glass Centre, at the University of Sunderland, which received £1,045,891.