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Belfast City Council has created a £20k for the city’s music venues

Belfast City Council has created a £20k for the city’s music venues

Belfast City Council has partnered with Music Venue Trust in the creation of a Pipeline Investment Fund, which aids Belfast’s venues with small grant financial assistance.

The UK fund was set up in Autumn last year, and has already administered small grants to over 60 grassroots music venues across the UK already, enabling them to make improvements to their venues or provide training.

Belfast City Council, as part of their recently launched ‘Music Matters’ programme has committed £20,000 to the PIF which will be ring-fenced for Belfast venues, who in turn will be able to apply for grants up to £5,000 to be used for sound, lights, sound, access, ventilation and minor building alterations, or for staff training, diversifying workforces, succession planning, skills development, and strengthening local community ties.

Applications are open from 3rd July to 25th August.

MVT is keen to work with other local authorities, organisations and companies who would like to offer financial support but may not have a mechanism to do so and hopes that others will use Belfast City Council’s decision to utilise an existing grant model as an effective template to provide financial support to their local grassroots music venues.

GMVs in Belfast will be encouraged to apply for amounts that will make a material improvement to the artist and audience experience while safeguarding the efficient running of venue spaces. Applications can be submitted throughout the summer, with decisions made in early autumn, and MVT will administer the process enabling Belfast City Council to sign off on successful applicants and ensuring that any funding meets intended criteria.


“Our council is committed to supporting and nurturing our local music scene, and capitalising upon the economic, social and regenerative value music can bring to our city,” said Councillor Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee.


“Igniting the live experience and supporting venues to deliver the best experiences they can is a key pillar of our Music Matters strategy. The Pipeline Investment Fund will support small venues to make improvements to enhance what it’s like to attend a gig or perform your music in front of a live audience.

“I’d encourage all eligible venues to take a look at the funding available and see how it can best support them, whether through physical improvements or behind the scenes in the shape of staff training or improving skills.”

Beverley Whitrick, Chief Operating Officer at Music Venue Trust said, “This exciting new partnership with Belfast City Council, which will see £20k invested in the Music Venue Trust Pipeline Investment Fund, is exactly the kind of forward thinking collaboration that will help save and protect our local grassroots music venues. As well as the significant revenues they deliver to local economies these venues are a vital part of the cultural life of the towns and cities in which they are based. Belfast City Council recognise this and we urge other local authorities to follow their lead.”


Music Venue Trust is a registered charity, created in January 2014 to protect, secure and improve the UK live music network by securing the long-term future of iconic grassroots music venues such as Hull Adelphi, Exeter Cavern, Southampton Joiners, The 100 Club, Band on the Wall, Tunbridge Wells Forum etc. These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.  

We work to gain recognition of the essential role these venues fulfil, not only for artist development but also for the cultural and music industries, the economy and local communities. We aim to preserve and improve venues, making them more efficient and improving the experience for performers and audiences. Long-term we plan to acquire the freeholds of as many of these vital venues as possible.   

Music Matters

Members will be aware that at a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in December 2022, members agreed the final “Music Matters: A Roadmap for Belfast”. This roadmap has 4 strategic themes, each having 4 strategic priorities. There are a number of actions and recommendations given for each priority catering to many areas of need across the music sector. Theme 1: Place artists at the heart – Recognising the value of creators Theme 2: Nurture the sector – Strengthening the structures to support those who guide and invest in creators Theme 3: Ignite the live experience – Liberating the live music sector as a major catalyst for cultural and economic growth Theme 4: Unlock the unifying power of UNESCO – Sharing the gift of music with the people of Belfast

Theme 3 of the Music Strategy has a focus on supporting venues, with priority 9.5 including a commitment to review current support for venues to upgrade the quality of their event 3.4 3.5 3.6 spaces and equipment. As a key stakeholder in the strategy, officials from the Culture Team have been in discussions with the Music Venue Trust, a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues, to explore opportunities to enhance support for venues in Belfast.


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