THE charity behind the Queen’s Hall in Hexham has been awarded £150,000 by Arts Council England.

The award pairs lump sum grants with matched giving, and couldn’t have come at a better time for the Queen’s Hall Arts team.

“The £150,000 award is very timely with QHA celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2016,” said artistic director Geof Keys.

“It will help us in our ambition to ensure everyone in our community has access to great arts and culture and the opportunity to fulfil their artistic potential.”

Around £45,000 of the grant will be invested in training and mentoring for staff and the development of fund-raising techniques.

The remaining £105,000 is available in matched giving, with every pound donated to the charity matched by Arts Council England.

Development manager Sharon West said: “We see this award as a great vote of confidence in our work and our potential for growth.

“We look forward to building on relationships with our existing donors and to becoming more ambitious and entrepreneurial in our fund-raising.

“We currently have a group of 11 to 16-year-olds taking part in our Make a Play Summer School.

“They spend a week with us developing their theatre skills which will culminate in a live performance.

“With the support of Catalyst we will be able to raise funds to deliver more great arts experiences.”

Clare Titley, director of philanthropy at Arts Council England, said: “We can see from the number and quality of the applications that there is a real impetus among small and mid-sized organisations to make a step change in their approach to fund-raising and develop their business models.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how our investment can have a real impact.”