DfC Small Grants Scheme

The Small Grants Scheme has been set up with funds provided by a local business and financial contributions from some events supported by Darlington for Culture. DfC runs the scheme with help from Creative Darlington to administer applications.

DfC has long believed that small grants can allow everyone from music groups to art organisations to achieve great things and the scheme will offer grants of up to £500 per applicant each calendar year.

We encourage applications from any person or group with proposals that focus on arts activity in Darlington borough. Combined arts, performing arts and visual arts and exhibitions, theatre, dance and music performances, and participatory arts activities are all eligible to apply.

The costs involved in developing arts activity in Darlington (artist’s fees, arts equipment, arts materials, technical support, and space to hold activity, marketing and promotion) will be considered.

On this page we list some of the recent successful applications. The grant winners are asked to provide feedback about how the grant helped their activities.

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

The application: To support the booking of top bands and musicians at Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club, which has promoted live jazz in Darlington since 1996. Performers range from ragtime to swing, through the hot dance music of the 1920s, to the revivalist years of the 1950s and 1960s, with some be-bop and jive, they provide a programme with something for everyone. Events take place St Augustines Parish Centre in Larchfield Street is the home of Darlington New Orleans Jazz. Lunchtime sessions are held the first Saturday of the month 12:30 till 3pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club was the first receipient of a DfC Small Grants Award.

The award: £500

Feedback after the event: DfC chair at the time (June 2017) John Dean, who presented the cheque to Ray Sams of the Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club, said: “We are delighted to make this first award. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club is a vibrant organisation and this money will support their excellent programme and give them added confidence when it comes to bringing top quality performers to the town.”


The application: In partnership with The Market Laboratory, Johannesburg, OddManOut proposed producing a new play focused on womanhood in 2017, developing their portfolio and commitment to new work, demonstrating calibre, and having a product to showcase in the UK and internationally.

A DfC small art grant was sought to enable two Darlington-based theatre makers to develop their professional practice. OddManOut raised funds to support a bursary scheme. They have 6 participants (18- to 25-year-olds) in the main project and needed to raise £250 per participant, in order to cover bus travel/food/loss of earnings during the rehearsal period.

The award: £500

Feedback after the event: “Our show and engagement programme went fantastically and had over 200 in the audience, mainly young adults, at the new hippodrome. We ran workshops, tours, and talks with North-East artists, After Care Team, DJW, Northern Stage Young Company, Teesside University, a group from under the council, the youth council for the area. The Hippodrome Youth Theatre, The Hippodrome Contemporary Dance Company,

“We also raised enough funds to support all six artists. Our facebook page charts the journey of the week and also the positive feedback.” by OddManOut representative






Neasham Reading Room (village hall)

The application: The Reading Room is in a rural community with a pub, a village hall and no other facilities, and the organisation aims to provide as wide a variety of events and activities that appeal across the generations. They wanted to buy a lightweight portable stage which can be used flexibly for different types of performances. Without it, audiences will be unable to see the performance properly.

The award: £500 (towards total cost)

Feedback after the event: “Courtesy of grants from the Foyle Foundation and Darlington For Culture, Neasham Reading Room has bought portable staging. The modular/foldable stage was delivered at the end of February and its construction means it can be easily erected and stored. Over the past two years the Reading Room has started to host Rural Arts Music and Drama productions as well as local theatre, so the new stage will be a real asset with the professional presentation of these events.

“The stage had its first ‘run out’ on Saturday 12th May when Snake Davis, the highly acclaimed saxophonist, performs at the Reading Room with fellow musicians David Bowie Jnr and singer Helen Watson with the Burden of Paradise Tour.” by Lesley Blundell (Reading Room Chair)