In depth support

As Bridge we offer a range of intensive support to organisations in the south west working in arts and culture, in education, or with young people in other settings – all subsidised by Arts Council England.

Our in-depth programmes offer expert consultancy support across a broad range of themes from developing a high quality cultural offer for young people, to innovation around Arts Award and Artsmark.

If any of our in-depth programmes resonate with you and you'd like to find out more please get in touch by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 08458 621288.

All of the programmes below run from April 2015 until March 2016 unless otherwise stated

Cultural Innovation Programme

Working intensively with us we can support you to make a real difference to the way you work and your cultural offer to children and young people.

This support will mostly be consultancy from RIO's expert team, but could also include training and remote support too. We will also support organisations on the programme to consider new investment, to become more sustainable and resilient, to embed the Arts Council’s Quality Principles and to maximise their impact on children and young people.

We’re also keen to support organisations to embed Arts Award and Artsmark across their portfolio of activity.

How to apply

To apply, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Challenge Fund

RIO launched the next round of the Challenge Fund on 18th August 2016. The Challenge Fund provides leveraged investment to support organisations, commissioners and partnerships who are unlocking income that have never before supported cultural education activity for young people.

This year, the Challenge Fund seeks to support cultural education, health and wellbeing in children and young people, and we will look for proposals which can demonstrate an evidenced need to support this target group in this area. Organisations wanting to put forward an expression of interest can work in any sector within the Arts Council defined region of the south west, at either strategic or grassroots level, as long as they can demonstrate that their proposal seeks to support high quality arts for children and young people, with a particular emphasis on health and wellbeing.

We are looking for match funding requests of £25,000-£75,000. Your Expression of Interest should reflect the themes of the Cultural Education Partnership in your area.

Click here to find out more. Please be aware that the closing deadline for all applications is 18th September 2016.

Cultural Education Partnerships

A targeted development programme working in specific localities, this programme will focus on identifying and supporting local cultural infrastructure focused on young people. It will build strategic relationships, identify opportunities for investment, support organisations important in developing the local offer and, where appropriate, model high quality engagement and practice with young people.

The localities we are currently working with are:

Arts Award

Arts Award Innovation Programme

Supporting Arts Award is a key component of our work as Bridge. Under this programme we will work intensively with 20 organisations to innovate their arts education using Arts Award.

Our aim is to support the development of innovative, structured approaches to increase the number and range of children and young people experiencing arts & culture and increase the numbers achieving the Arts Award.

For each organisation we work with we will develop a targeted, concise agreement working towards established outcomes.

About Arts Award

Arts Award offers young people an inspiring arts journey. Each path can take a different direction – from fashion to film-making, from dance to design, from photography to poetry. Whichever route they choose to follow, young people are always in the driving seat.

Arts Award’s unique qualifications support young people to develop as artists and arts leaders. The programme develops their creativity, leadership and communication skills.

Open to anyone aged from 5 to 25, Arts Award embraces all interests and backgrounds. Through working towards an award young people learn to work independently, helping them to prepare for further education and employment.

Arts Award motivates and celebrates young people’s artistic achievements. Young people can achieve an award through any arts, media or cultural activity, developing knowledge and understanding of their chosen art forms.

Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England working with 10 regional Bridge organisations. RIO leads the Arts Award regional development for the South West as part of this Bridge network.

Check out our Useful Docs and Downloads for more on Arts Award or visit the website here.


Artsmark - Inspiring young people through the arts and culture

We believe every child should have the opportunity to create, compose, and perform, as well as to visit, experience, participate in and review extraordinary work.

Artsmark can help unlock the potential of children and young people, help to develop character and talent, and increase their knowledge and understanding. That’s why Artsmark was created: to bring this ambition to life in every classroom.

Awarded by Arts Council England, designed by schools, the new Artsmark award will help schools deliver a high quality arts and cultural education and provide an excellent way to demonstrate this. Across the country Artsmark is rewarding more and more schools for championing arts and culture. Any school, college or youth justice setting can apply. Artsmark schools gain access to exceptional resources as well as networks of the country’s most treasured cultural organisations, helping them develop and strengthen their arts provision.

Artsmark is the creative quality standard for schools and education settings, accredited by Arts Council England.

  • Culture and creativity increases pupils’ confidence, critical thinking, communication and literacy skills, improving attainment and bringing core subjects to life.
  • Artsmark provides a clear framework for teachers to plan, develop and evaluate arts, culture and creativity across the curriculum.
  • Schools are supported throughout their Artsmark journey by a network of local partners, providing training, advice, practical teaching resources and introductions to leading cultural organisations in your area.
  • Schools are awarded Silver, Gold or Platinum, based on their achievements. Any school setting can apply.
  • Artsmark provides evidence of how a school meets its spiritual, moral, social and cultural requirements for Ofsted.
You can find out more about how Artsmark works here and register here. For more information email the RIO Artsmark team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Artsmark supports Arts Award which recognises the creative development of individual young people.

Artsmark Process Diagram


The Real Ideas Organisation have a suite of resources designed to support you through your Artsmark journey. These will be sent to you at various points however, you can also download them here.

We have this handy process diagram to help you understand the steps in your Artsmark journey.

For help in discussing Artsmark with your school we have the School’s Resource Presentation. Developed with staff meetings in mind, the School’s Resource Presentation demonstrates the benefits of Artsmark in an easily shareable format.

To support you writing your Statement of Commitment we have our 10 Steps to Success – available as both a PDF and Youtube video. Talking you through the top 10 steps to include in your Statement of Commitment.

If you would like to be kept up to date on Artsmark developments, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will add you to our mailing list. Alternatively, please use the sign-up box below:

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