Blueprint Programme

What is Blueprint?

Blueprint is a pioneering 5-year financial growth programme enabling small to medium-sized cultural organisations (with an average turnover in the 3 years ended March 2020 of between £25k and £500k) in Northern Ireland to take a more long-term approach to income generation. Blueprint is about investment in long-term growth and finding the route to greater financial security and artistic freedom.  

Blueprint is informed by five years of research and development led by the team at Arts & Business NI (A&BNI), in partnership with a cohort of public and private funders.  The rationale for the programme  began to form in 2016, when A&BNI commissioned a piece of research entitled ‘Socially Investing in the Arts’. The financial fragility of the arts sector highlighted in that research, has only been compounded further by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pictured above (left to right): The Arts & Business NI team, including Brona Whittaker, Head of Arts, Mary Nagele, CEO and Adam Bradley, Arts Programme Co-ordinator launch applications for the Blueprint programme on 9th November 2021.

The programme will comprise of two phases:

Phase 1 of Blueprint is open to up to 30 organisations and commences in January 2022 and runs until June 2022. This phase involves completing six training days, cohort learning and advice and support.

Phase 2 will see 15 organisations progress to access financial support over four remaining years. The organisations who do not automatically proceed to phase 2 will continue to be supported through a range of specialist advice and tailored masterclasses programmed in phase 2. 

Watch the Blueprint Launch Film

Hear more about the journey to Blueprint, the funders, programme specifics and details about applying in our short launch film below. Prefer to read the details instead? Download our brochure and application form at the bottom of this page. 


Why should your organisation apply for Blueprint?

Blueprint will support and develop a cluster of organisations, investing in them over a five-year period to:

identify opportunities for income growth

strengthen long-term financial sustainability

support and incentivise organisations to build a strong balance sheet for the longer term

increase income and build reserves, enabling the growth of capital for future innovation


Interested in taking part in Blueprint?

The first step of the application process is to thoroughly read the Blueprint brochure, which you can download below. You should then fill out the application form found on pages 9-13 of the brochure, and return the completed form via email to Adam Bradley ( 

We recommend you read the brochure in detail, particularly the entry criteria which can be found on page 7, to ensure that your organisation qualifies to apply. Be sure to use this criteria when answering each question, as your application will be assessed against this criteria in the shortlisting process. The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Wednesday 1st December 2021.

The Arts & Business NI team will be offering pre-booked advice surgeries on Wednesday 24th November, to give support on application submissions.

To book a session please contact Adam Bradley, Arts Programme Co-ordinator:, 028 9073 5156

When designing this application process Arts & Business NI has been mindful that all cultural organisations have stretched resources at this time. All organisations in phase 1 can apply for £500 to support them in committing the time to the programme in this pre-grant phase.

Our Funders

Arts & Business NI would like to express our sincere thanks to the funders who have partnered with on this programme. You can read more about our funders comments on the Blueprint programme in our launch press release here.

 These include:



Arts & Business NI would also like to acknowledge and thank two other funders who also supported the research and development work that underpinned Blueprint.

They are: 

Arts & Business NI were delighted to be announced as the recipients of the first larger, strategic grant of £500,000 from Dormant Accounts Fund NI, which is being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance in NI. 

Pictured below for the announcement of this first larger investment from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, a £500,000 grant to enable delivery of the Blueprint programme, are Martin Bradley, Chair, Arts & Business NI; Brona Whittaker, Head of Arts, Arts & Business NI; Mary Nagele, Chief Executive, Arts & Business NI; Paul Sweeney, Chair of Northern Ireland Committee, The National Lottery Community Fund; Conor Murphy, Finance Minister and Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director, The National Lottery Community Fund.  

Click here to read the full story.

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.