In April 2019, PLACE received the unexpected and disappointing news that the Arts Council for Northern Ireland (ACNI) had withdrawn its core funding for the organisation. Since then, the Board and Staff of PLACE have worked intensively to find a way forward. We immediately appealed the ACNI decision; this was unsuccessful however, and in June we escalated our case to the office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman for further review. We also engaged with our supporters and trade union colleagues, and took steps to seek alternative funding. At the beginning of July, the ACNI made a conditional offer of limited funding to PLACE, separate to our original core funding application. The PLACE Board has carefully considered this conditional offer from the ACNI, balancing it against our financial and governance responsibilities at this time.
Based on a thorough assessment of the risks and responsibilities facing the organisation, we have concluded, sadly, that it is necessary to decline the ACNI offer and wind up PLACE in its current format. This decision has not been taken lightly: indeed, it has been made with deep regret, acknowledging the exceptional contributions made by the founders, staff, and supporters of the organisation over the past 15 years, and the impact of this outcome on all of them.
Since 2004, PLACE has operated at the cutting edge of creative, intelligent, and inclusive public engagement around the built environment in Northern Ireland. Our skilled team of staff and volunteers has established valued networks across the region: in the past 18 months alone, we have engaged more than 10,000 people across our communities in more than 130 innovative events. These projects have celebrated and enriched our understanding of our architectural and planning heritage, strengthened connections within our own society, and linked us with initiatives of an international scale.
While this marks the end of a chapter for us, we are very hopeful that the important and exciting work that PLACE delivers will continue. We are exploring the next steps with the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), who have agreed to accept the transfer of our key assets, including PLACE’s Intellectual Property, copyrighted materials, and brand.
As we conclude this process, the Board wishes to pay tribute to the staff team at PLACE, and to the many supporters, delivery partners, and volunteers who have enabled the organisation to thrive over the past 15 years. Thank you for your commitment and for your support; we trust that you will continue to follow the development of this work as it moves into the future.
PLACE Built Environment Centre 7-9 Lower Garfield Street, Belfast, BT1 1FP [email protected] +44 (0)28 9023 2524 PLACE is a Charity registered in Northern Ireland Company Number: NI607231 Registered Charity Number: XT30723