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Prosper North is a free business support programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The programme aims to improve the capabilities of around 80 cultural heritage organisations in the North of England – from music venues to community art groups, and independent museums to literature festivals. The programme is designed to increase income and impact and provide support in becoming more resilient businesses.

Starting in 2019, already the organisations on the programme have participated in a combined total of over 600 hours of 1:1, workshops and webinars, covering subjects such as trading as a social enterprise, business modelling and social investment.

Members of our cohorts have described the programme as “enlightening”, “supportive” and “transformative”. 

Prosper North is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and delivered by Creative United in partnership with Key Fund, Bates Wells and Social Investment Business.

Applications now closed for Edition 3

Applications are now closed for the third and final edition of the Prosper North programme.

Prosper North’s mix of free, tailored 1:1 business support, workshops, webinars and meetups are designed to enable cultural heritage organisations to
increase income and impact, become more resilient businesses and explore social investment. In these challenging times of social distancing due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the programme will also help with planning for the rebuilding of businesses post-lock down.

Edition 3 will run from September 2020 – February 2021

Programme overview

In the following overview, Sarah Thirtle, Director of Business Support Programme outlines the aims and structure of the programme.

Meet the organisations that have taken part in Prosper North 

Organisations that have taken part in the Prosper North programme are:

• Based in one of the 11 northern-most Local Enterprise Partnership regions (click here for a map)
• Operating in the cultural heritage sector;
• Working, either directly or indirectly, provides positive social impacts, such as:

– training, education and participation opportunities for your local community; or
– a safe, inclusive space to experience art and culture; or
– improves well-being and reduces isolation for local and diverse communities; or
– safeguards and promotes local stories and heritage

To see the range of organisations that have taken part in the programme so far, visit the Prosper North Community page.

 Who provides the business support?

Prosper North is delivered by Creative United and their established a network of exceptionally qualified business advisors whose expertise span the full breadth and depth of the arts and creative industries.

Any more questions?

If you still have any questions regarding the programme or eligibility criteria, please check our FAQs below, get in touch by email,, or call 020 7759 1111.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Prosper North?

Prosper North is a business support programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will provide free one-to-one business advice and workshops to help 80 cultural heritage organisations in the north of England improve their enterprise, trading income, sustainability, social impacts and investment readiness.


It is aligned with the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF), managed by the Key Fund, which is offering social investments (mix of grant and loans) to creative and cultural organisations in the north of England who deliver positive social impacts.


More information about NCRF can be found on the Key Fund website

Additional programme partners are Social Investment Business and Bates Wells Braithwaite.

The one-to-one business advice will be delivered via our network of specialist sector business advisors. Click here to find out more about them.

If you’re not sure if your organisation would fit the cultural heritage description, please get in touch by email,, or call 020 7759 1111.

What are some examples of a cultural heritage organisation?

  • An independent museum
  • A local archive
  • An historic or culturally-important building
  • A venues or theatre with local/regional significance
  • A festival promoting or curating traditional (either locally, regionally nationally) art or performance
  • A community-based or volunteer-led arts or cultural organisation working with diverse participants and audiences.

Heritage can be physical (buildings, archives, exhibits etc.) or non-physical (music, poetry, dance, stories, etc.)

If you’re not sure if your organisation would fit the cultural heritage description, please get in touch by email,, or call 020 7759 1111.

What kind of organisation will be supported on the programme?

Prosper North is designed to provide free support to:

  • Charities
  • Social enterprises
  • Community Interest companies
  • Companies limited by guarantee or share that can clearly demonstrate a positive social impact as a result of their output

If you’re not sure if your organisation would be supported on the programme, please get in touch by email,, or call 020 7759 1111.

What regions does the Prosper North programme cover?

Prosper North is available to organisations which are based in one of the 11 Northern-most Local Enterprise Partnership regions.


These are:

1- North East
2- Tees Valley
3- York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
4- Humber
5- Sheffield City Region
6- Leeds City Region
7- Greater Manchester
8- Cheshire and Warrington
9- Liverpool City Region
10- Lancashire
11- Cumbria

You can find a map of these here

My organisation is volunteer-led. Can we apply?


How long will Prosper North run for?

The programme will launch on 14 May 2019, and end in February 2021.

How will the Prosper North programme work?

  • There will be an application and enrolment period between May 2019 and Sep 2020
  • In that period there will be 3 enrolment points – Sep 2019, March 2020 and Sep 2020
  • A cohort of 25-30 organisations will be enrolled at each point
  • There will be 3 editions of the programme, each lasting 6 months, accommodating each cohort, each taking place in these periods:
    • Sep 2019 – Feb 2020
    • March 2020 – Aug 2020
    • Sep 2020 – Feb 2021
  • In each edition there will be 5 workshops, webinars or meet up style events, each repeated twice
  • As well as access the free workshops/webinars and meet up events, each organisation enrolled in the programme will be matched with an advisor or business coach for an average of 9/10 hours of one-to-one support

Will my organisation receive a grant + loan deal from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF) at the end of the Prosper North programme?

Maybe. The Prosper North programme will help organisations achieve a position whereby they can access and use funding from diverse sources, not just grants from local authorities, the Arts Council, the Heritage Fund or trusts and foundations.


One of these diverse sources of funding could be social finance. Prosper North will actively help organisations interested in applying to NCRF for social finance; and aims to enable 8-10 organisations to successfully secure investment from this fund.

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