facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label


BBE admit that funding successes require further clarity

Mike Kilroy tells 4BR that reports of £300,000 of funding success have also highlighted the need for Brass Bands England to implement robust, transparent reporting procedures.



A Freedom of Information request made by 4BR to Arts Council England has raised concerns over the exact financial impact the national funding body believes Brass Bands England may have been able to make,over the past year and a half, on what they refer to as the brass band ‘sector’,

In a recent article printed in Brass Band World magazine (November edition), BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy reportedly commented that, “BBE has had help from the Arts Council England in figuring out what money has reached brass bands in the last 15 — 18 months.”

Mike reportedly highlighted the ‘astonishing impact’ made ‘engaging with bands and helping them with applications for funding’. The figure quoted was £300,000.

Freedom of Information request

Following the publication of the article, and through another published in British Bandsman (25th October issue), 4BR made the Freedom of Information request to find out exactly how this figure was calculated, and to whom the payments were made.

Arts Council England initially replied to 4BR to state that: “Supporting the sector (brass bands as well as the composers, individual artists, producers, festivals, venues etc who work with brass bands) to access funding is part of Brass Bands England's role as a National Portfolio organisation.

In terms of Arts Council funding, Grants for the Arts is the most popular programme as well as the most appropriate for first access to our funding.”

The figure quoted to 4BR for this ‘sector’ in the financial year 2013/14 was £290,244.


Arts Council England subsequently provided 4BR with a complete breakdown of Grants for the Arts awards that have been made to the ‘art form’ of music and the ‘sub-art form’ of ‘brass and silver bands’ for 2013/14 and 2014 to date.

For the financial year 2013/2014, £290,244 was awarded to 15 successful applications, whilst for the period 2014 to the present, a further 9 awards have been made totaling £80,690.

Separate National Portfolio Organisation awards were made for the financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15 to Brass Bands England of £126,323, to Gala Durham (£420,450) and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (£236,280).

The total of NPO and Grants for the Arts awards for 2013/14 and 2014 to date amounted to £1,153.988.

Further investigation

However, further investigations by 4BR have found that only a small proportion of the Grants for the Arts awards were made through the direct application involvement or indirect help and advice of Brass Bands England.

4BR has contacted the majority of the biggest successful applicants of 2013/2014, including individual bands, festivals, community cultural development and theatre groups who have confirmed that their applications did not involve BBE in any way.

The successful outcomes of these applications amounted to approximately £270,000 of the £300,000 figure reportedly quoted in the Brass Band World magazine article by BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy.

Further contacts with those for 2014 to date reveal the same story.

Root and branch

Since Mike Kilroy took over as Chairman of BBE in July 2013, he has spearheaded what he called ‘a root and branch’ reform of the organisation — one that has resulted in a hugely successful 142.3% increase in the organisation’s core funding over the next three years by Arts Council England — from just over £62,000 per year to over £142,000.

Hard work to do

However, speaking to 4BR, he confirmed that the Freedom of Information request by 4BR revealed that there is still a great deal of hard work to do in the coming months for BBE to implement robust, transparent reporting procedures to record the outcomes of its work to Arts Council England.

He has also confirmed in writing to 4BR that he disputed the claim that the £300,000 of funding success was down to BBE’s work.

In a reply to 4BR he stated: “...the conversations with the Arts Council have facilitated a change of attitude in assessing the validity of applications by Brass Bands… and have helped create a more positive outlook from bands in regards to applying for funding.

I need to continue to make the point that BBE, nor me, have ever claimed that the funding uplift was due to direct or indirect work undertaken by the organisation.”

The overall figure of £1.15 million of funding to benefit brass banding provided by Arts Council England is something to be greatly encouraged byBBE Chairman Mike Kilroy.

Greatly encouraged

Speaking to 4BR he added: “The overall figure of £1.15 million of funding to benefit brass banding provided by Arts Council England is something to be greatly encouraged by.

It does however also highlight the need for BBE to put in place our own accurate reporting requirements, which at present we do not have.

These will not only help us work much more effectively with them, but also highlight the outcomes of work we will be able to undertake when our new funding stream and appointments of an Operations Manger and three full time Liaison Officers start in April 2015.

It must be noted though that our current work has resulted in many successful applications from other funding streams and sources.”


He added: “I’m grateful to 4BR for also highlighting the need for BBE to gain reliable, accurate figures for awards made through our work, and to be able to break into constituent parts the current overall ‘Grants for the Arts’ figures provided to us by Arts Council England.

I believe that will give us a greater understanding and focus on the work we need to undertake and target in the future, and to be realistic to what we can and cannot achieve.

It will also help us present a much stronger case to funding bodies and politicians for increased funding to the brass band movement.”

New Zealand

New Zealand youth reaches 60th birthday with a treat in store

July 21 • The latest generation of National Youth Band of New Zealand players will head to Australia for a 60th anniversary birthday tour in 2019... with a bit of extra help...


Welsh youth ready to rise again in Neath, Newtown and Cardiff

July 21 • The National Youth Brass Band of Wales will meet this weekend under Philip Harper to prepare for a trio of major concerts featuring evocative repertoire from Tom Davoren to Eric Ball and an incredible young guest soloist.


British Open line-up announced

July 20 • 19 world class bands will battle it out for the honour of being crowned 2018 British Open champion at Symphony Hall in September.


Your Logo Here stands up to be counted

July 20 • The team from Your Logo Here meet the very specific stand banner demands of a hard working brass band in Hampshire.

Roberts Bakery Band - Bluedot Festival

Saturday 21 July • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. . The University of Manchester. . Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL

Medway Band - Higham Church Annual Prom

Saturday 21 July • St. Marys Church. 1 Abbey Farm Cottages . Church Street. Higham. Rochester . ME3 7LS

Lofthouse Brass Band - Oxenhope Railway Station

Sunday 22 July • Oxenhope Railway Station, The Railway Station, Station Road, Haworth BD22 8NJ BD22 8NJ

Tendring Brass - Opening Night Concert of the Frinton Mission 2018

Saturday 28 July • Greensward,. Frinton on Sea,. Essex CO13 9DN

Lofthouse Brass Band - Filey Bandstand

Sunday 29 July • Filey Bandstand, The Crescent, Filey YO14 9JS YO14 9JS

Horwich RMI Band

July 21 • Horwich RMI Band request the services of a confident PRINCIPAL CORNET and a Bb BASS player.. This is an enthusiastic, progressive 2nd Section Band of a high standard.. . Enjoyable Monday and Thursday rehearsals and a balanced mix of engagements.

Blidworth Welfare Band

July 20 • *PRINCIPAL EUPHONIUM* A great opportunity has arisen for a first class Euphonium player to join one of the UK's most upwardly mobile Championship section bands. The successful candidate will be a regular solo feature at concerts, contests and recordings.

Arrow Valley Brass

July 20 • The Band seeks cornet players, front and back row to add to a band steadily improving under Andy Culshaw.. The band is friendly and welcoming and has a good mix of concerts and competitions. . Main rehearsal is on Sunday morning in Inkberrow, Worcs.

John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor